The Outrage from Dobbs Continues...
By John Gideon on 7/21/2006, 6:14pm PT  

Tonight's "Democracy At Risk" featured a discussion of Wednesday's congressional hearings on electronic voting.


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A written transcript follows:

But first, Congress may be finally awakening to the extraordinary threat to our democracy from electronic voting machines. But that is conditional. Congress this week began asking tough questions about the lax security of these machines and the risk of voter fraud. But there are more questions.

Kitty Pilgrim reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

KITTY PILGRIM, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Congress took a long look at whether electronic voting machines are reliable. Congressman Rush Holt has been pushing for tougher standards.

REP. RUSH HOLT (D), NEW JERSEY: There is just too much suspicion, too much cynicism, too much doubt around the country right now about how the mechanism of our democracy is working.

PILGRIM: One of the most upsetting issues, safety standards aren't mandatory. They are voluntary and won't be in effect for years.

REP. SHERWOOD BOEHLERT (R), SCIENCE COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: I'm not happy to learn that new standards are not likely to be fully enforceable until 2010 at the earliest, and that's only in states that choose to adopt them.

PILGRIM: Experts testified that virtually every electronic voting study has proven that a voter-verified paper trail is the only way to make sure a ballot is recorded accurately. Activists wore T- shirts that said, "Got paper?"

WILLIAM JEFFREY, NATIONAL INST. OF STANDARDS & TECH.: The new voluntary guidelines takes no position regarding the implementation of such paper audit trails and neither requires nor endorses them.

PILGRIM: So requirements for a paper trail are not even in the federal guidelines.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

PILGRIM: Now, the issue of a paper trail was not discussed in detail at the hearing. The House Science Committee chairman said there wasn't time to go into it. That issue will be taken up in September --- Lou.

DOBBS: Just a little less than two months away from the midterm elections.

This country at times --- this Congress, this administration, I cannot fathom what they are thinking. The idea that you would risk the integrity of our --- of our elections after the lessons that we learned presumably over the last six years in this country.

PILGRIM: Citizens groups have filed in nine states to try to challenge some of these provisions. Some people get it. It seems Congress does not.

DOBBS: Well, Kitty Pilgrim, you keep us informed. We appreciate it.