Donna Brazile Posts Open Letter Encouraging Citizens to Pressure Lawmakers!
(While, So Far, All Republican Congress Members Remain Apparently Uninterested in Ensuring American Citizens Can Vote This November!)
By Brad Friedman on 9/28/2006, 5:05pm PT  

In her role as Chair of the Democratic National Committee's Voting Rights Institute (VRI), Donna Brazile has issued a statement to The BRAD BLOG moments ago in support of the Congressional Emergency Paper Ballot legislation now pending in the U.S. House and Senate.

Announcing that "We still have time to address the e-voting security crisis!," Brazile writes in her "Open Letter to Supporters of Democracy of America" in support of the House (HR 6187) and Senate (S. 3943) bills introduced this week calling for Emergency Paper Ballots at the polls this November, in the light of voting system failures across the country in primaries so far this year.

She calls on citizens to "pressure...lawmakers to support legislation that would help produce a fair and transparent election." (Full letter posted at the end of this article)

The "time to address" the crisis, at least on the Federal level, is quickly drawing to a close as Congress will likely adjourn tomorrow for the Election Recess. Citizens are asked to call their legislators (House switchboard: 202-225-3121, Senate switchboard: 202-224-3121) to demand they pass this bill immediately.

Maryland's Republican Governor Robert Ehrlich recently called for a similar state measure after his state turned away thousands from the polls, or handed them provisional ballots, when electronic voting machines failed to start up during their September 12th primary election.

Brazile's call to push for the Emergency Paper Ballot legislation this afternoon is notable. She has come under fire in the past from critics in the Election Integrity Advocacy movement for failing to take a firm enough stance, in her role at the DNC VRI, to alert Americans to the potential for fraud, inaccuracy and disenfranchisement via electronic voting systems.

The DNC endorsement for the legislation by Brazile is the latest in a growing drumbeat of politicians and non-partisan Election Integrity organizations calling on supporters and members to help pass the 11th hour legislation, co-sponsored in the Senate by Senators Boxer, Dodd, Feingold and Kerry and in the House by Rep. Rush Holt and several other co-sponsors.

The BRAD BLOG originally proposed this legislation early last week. As of this hour, not a single Republican in the U.S. Congress has publicly endorsed the legislation or joined as co-sponsor to help ensure that all registered American voters will actually be able to cast a vote at all this November.

The complete open letter from Brazile, issued this afternoon on behalf of the DNC's Voting Rights Insitute, follows in full...

OPEN LETTER TO SUPPORTERS OF
DEMOCRACY IN AMERICA!
Support The "Confidence in Voting Act of 2006"

By
Donna Brazile
Chair, DNC Voting Rights Institute

Fellow citizens,

We still have time to address the e-voting security crisis!

The November 7th mid term congressional and statewide elections are around the corner --- and fears and concerns about the integrity of our electoral system and the security of paperless electronic voting systems have increased daily.

But there is time to act!

Before Congress adjourns for the November elections, we must pressure our lawmakers to support legislation that would help produce a fair and transparent election. Please call your lawmaker now and ask them to support the "Confidence in Voting Act of 2006."

This legislation, sponsored in the Senate by Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Chris Dodd (D-CT) and Russ Feingold (WI), along with Congressman Rush Holt (D-NJ) in the House of Representatives will allow the states to use optical scan or other paper ballot-based voting systems to opt in to a program for this November's election whereby they would be reimbursed for giving voters the right to cast their votes on paper ballots.

The "Confidence in Voting Act of 2006" would also:

  • Reimburse States at the rate of 75 cents per printed ballot for
    offering voters, upon their request, the right to cast a vote by means of a contingency paper ballots, regardless of the voting equipment otherwise in use at the precinct;
  • Mandate that the voter's right to cast his or her vote by means of such a contingency paper ballot be conspicuously posted at polling places;
  • Mandate that jurisdictions treat contingency paper ballots as
    regular ballots, and count them accordingly and not as provisional ballots (unless a voter is otherwise required to vote provisionally); and
  • Authorize such sums as are necessary to reimburse the States under the program.
  • We still have time to address the e-voting security crisis!

    Every citizen deserves the right to vote and have that vote counted as cast. This is the system by which we hold our elected officials accountable and the cornerstone of a functioning democracy. A wide variety of non-partisan, objective studies have shown deeply troubling irregularities in the conduct of the 2000 and 2004 elections, as well as in some of the primary elections this year that call into question the fairness and accuracy of our current election system and demonstrate that the problems have not been fixed. Many of these voting irregularities are a direct result of malfunctioning electronic voting machines and poll workers who may be untrained in administering this new technology. Some of the problems could be eliminated by the use of voter-verified paper ballots. It’s time we act and call upon our lawmakers to ensure this election is fair and transparent. Given the recent rampant election irregularities and discrepancies, voters are justifiably concerned about the integrity of their votes cast through potentially flawed and unreliable machinery.

    That is why I am calling on Democrats to stand firmly in support of H.R.6187, the Confidence in Voting Act of 2006.