The original co-sponsors of legislation in the House of Representatives to require "paper records" on Electronic Voting Machines and many other security measures and improvements to the Help America Vote Act of 2002, have sent a "Dear Colleague" letter to other members citing the landmark report recently released by the non-partisan Government Accountability Office (GAO) on the myriad security problems found after a year-long investigation into those machines.
In a letter from last Wednesday obtained by The BRAD BLOG, Congressmen Rush Holt (D-NJ) and Tom Davis (R-VA) asked colleagues to join them in support of H.R. 550, known as the "The Voter Confidence and Increased Accessibility Act".
In their letter, the congressmen point out several of the key findings in the GAO report leading off with a quote from it that reads ". . . computer programs could access these cast vote files and alter them without the system recording this action in its audit logs.” [emphasis in original]
The legislation, which currently has more than 150 bi-partisan co-sponsors, has been languishing for some time as House Leadership has kept it from coming up for debate on the House floor or committee mark-up. H.R. 550 is currently "pending" in the House Administrative Committee, according to Holt's Communications Director, Patrick G. Eddington, but it has received "no debate, mark-up or hearing" as of yet. He added, "no Committee has specifically addressed H.R. 550."
H.R. 550 was introduced in April of this year. It was a reintroduction of a predecessor bill, H.R. 2239, which was first introduced in 2003, but was similarly never debated or voted on in any House committee.
The House Administrative Committee is chaired by Ohio Republican Bob Ney who held hearings last March on "Ohio Election Irregularities" in which he called only one witness from any "Voting Rights" group. That group, the self-proclaimed "non-partisan" American Center for Voting Rights, had been formed only days before the hearing, and as reporting by BRAD BLOG has revealed, was formed by two high-level Bush/Cheney/RNC operatives. Ney is also reported to be currently under investigation by the DoJ for his involvement in the ongoing Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal.
Amongst several other points cited in the letter from the GAO reports's findings: Ballot definitions on Electronic Voting Machines may be altered so that "the votes shown on the touch screen for one candidate would actually be recorded and counted for a different candidate."; Programming errror in a Pennsylvania county resulted in an undervote percentage of 80% in some precincts; An "unknown number of disenfranchised voters" as documented by California voting officials; Election monitors in a Florida county discovering a "flaw" in an Electronic Voting Machine ballot that allowed "ballots to be added to the canvas totals multiple times without being detected."; An Electronic Voting system in Ohio added nearly 4,000 votes for Bush in just one precinct during the '04 Presidential Election.
Though the GAO report was non-partisan, requested by the Chairmen and ranking members of three different U.S. House Committees, and was released last month after a year-long investigation along with a rare bi-partisan joint press release which lauded it, not a single wire service or mainstream American newspaper to date, that we know of, has devoted a single paragraph reporting on its release or the information contained within.
The complete text of Holt and Davis' letter to colleagues follows [emphasis in original] ...