HR 811 ("Holt Bill") Resource Page


H.R. 811 Resource Page

Click here for the Halt 811 Action Page

UPDATE: HR 811 "Floor Manager" Revisions, July 27
Click here to open and download PDF
Click here to read critical annotation of the revised 811, by Nancy Tobi

New Feature: Legislative Bill Tracker (at right) from Congress.org connects to a variety of resources on the HR 811 bill. We recommend you try it out! Please note, however, that the Floor Manager Revision (above) is the current version of HR 811, despite what the Congressional resources that the tracker links to, say. Unfortunately, online Congressional reports about the public's business (such as Thomas.gov, the official Congressional legislative website) lag weeks behind reality. Also, the official web sources still inaccurately claim 220 co-sponsors for HR 811. This figure is incorrect, and does not reflect the increasing numbers of Representatives who have withdrawn their sponsorship of HR 811.
UPDATE: Text of Amended Holt Bill Released May 8th by House Committee on Administration
Click here to open and download PDF

UPDATE: Letter to Congress Urging No on HR 811
by Theresa Hommel

UPDATE: Congress About to Say 'Yes' to Permanent, Secret Vote Counting
by Nancy Tobi

UPDATE: Call for Open, Public Debate on HR 811
by Nancy Tobi

UPDATE: Five-Point Legislative Alternative
by Nancy Tobi

Related Links:
Statement on Election Reform by NASS (National Assoc. of Secretaries of State)
NASS Resolution on Election Assistance Commission (EAC)

UPDATE: Clause-by-Clause Analysis
of the Amended Holt Bill of May 8 (the "Lofgren Substitute") by Nancy Tobi

UPDATE: EAC Takes Aim at Paper Ballots
by Nancy Tobi

Click here for (Pre-Amendment) Text of H.R. 811 (as published on 02/05/07)

Thirteen Significant Problems in H.R. 811, the New Holt Bill

by Nancy Tobi


HR 811: Ten Blunders in A Deceptive Boondoggle

By Bruce O'Dell


Son of Holt, No Better

Critical Annotation of H.R. 811 by Bev Harris.


State (NCSL) and County (NACo) Election Administrators' Joint Statement of Opposition to H.R. 811

Request by Voters to Amend the Holt Bill

The "Request by Voters" is a nationally distributed appeal to Congress for needed election reforms proposed by the election integrity movement. Election Defense Alliance joins many other organizations in endorsing these proposals for effective legislative reform, to correct the damage wrought by HAVA and to amend or replace well-intentioned but seriously misguided proposals currently present in the "Holt Bill" (H.R. 550).


We are asking for your support of our Request by Voters, and for permission to add your name to our letter to Congress. Please respond with your affirmation of support TODAY by visiting this link to add your name and organization (if applicable) to the petition:

http://www.wethepatriots.org/HAVA/requestbyvoters.php


Election Reform/HR 811 Hearings, House Committee on Administration

 HR 811 The Voter Confidence and Increased Accessibility Act of 2007
...


HR 6414

Companion measure to HR 811 containing audit provisions extracted from HR 811


http://www.electiondefensealliance.org/HR6414_Analysis_Dopp


Analyses of EAC:

Danger of centralized, federal executive control over elections

http://www.electiondefensealliance.org/abolish_eac

http://www.electiondefensealliance.org/eac_gopher_bash
Futility of "certification" of voting machines

EAC Certification as a Ponzi Scheme: Summary
EAC Voting Equipment Certification as a Ponzi Scheme

2 attachments

Analysis of Certification Timelines

The proposed Holt Bill (HR 811) attempts to require a text converter in every precinct


Letters and Testimony by Election Officials Opposing HR 811

The Election Center

Boone County, Missouri writes Congress in opposition to Holt Bill

President of Access for the Handicapped, writes Congress in opposition to the Holt Bill

Maryland Election Officials write Congress in opposition to Holt Bill

Chris Nelson, South Dakota Secretary of State writes to Congress in opposition to Holt bill

New Jersey emails Congress in opposition to the Holt Bill

Texas County Clerk faxes Congress in opposition to Holt Bill

Ohio faxes Congress in opposition to the Holt Bill

NH faxes Congress in opposition to the Holt Bill

California faxes Congress in opposition to the Holt Bill

NH faxes Congress in opposition to the Holt Bill (#2)

California faxes Congress in opposition to the Holt Bill (#2)


Thanks to Kathy Dopp of NEDA/USCountVotes for Providing these Links to Selected Articles

"Fool Me Once: Checking Vote Count Integrity"
http://electionarchive.org/ucvAnalysis/US/paper-audits/TierElectionAuditEval.pdf

DeForest Soaries says that "EAC and Federal efforts for election reform 'A Charade,' 'Travesty'!
 http://www.ejfi.org/Voting/Voting-6.htm#soaries

"Why not Re-Authorize the EAC"
http://electionarchive.net/docs_other/EAC-DoNotReauthorize.pdf

"The US Election Assistance Commission Has Not Done its Job"
http://www.votersunite.org/info/TestimonyTheisen03-13-07.pdf

Voting System Software Disclosure.pdf
David Wagner - testimony before the House Admin committee
http://electionarchive.net/docs_other/HearingTestimony/wagner.pdf

"Critical changes are needed to HR811"
http://electionarchive.org/ucvInfo/US/ChangesNeeded2HR811.pdf

"What's Wrong with Holt II (HR 811)" by Bev Harris of Black Box Voting

http://www.opednews.com/maxwrite/page.php?a=30554

"New Version of Holt Bill: A Giant Step Backwards"
by Nancy Tobi of Democracy for New Hampshire
http://www.opednews.com/maxwrite/page.php?a=30486

"Essential Revisions to HR811"
By John Gideon, Voters Unite, February 27, 2007
http://www.pdamerica.org/articles/news/2007-02-27-08-16-39-news.php

HR811 Review by Marian Beddill
http://noleakybuckets.org/holt811/holt811detail.shtml/



5-Point Alternative Proposal for Meaningful Election Legislation with Checks and Balances
Plus Incentives for Real Paper Ballots and Hand Counts

1.  In support of the principle of checks and balances and citizen oversight:
Require that Paper Ballots be Offered and Provided Voters at the Polls—
The appropriate election official at each polling place in an election for Federal office shall offer each individual who is eligible to cast a vote in the election at the polling place the opportunity to cast the vote using a pre-printed paper ballot which the individual may mark by hand and which is not produced by a direct recording electronic voting machine. If the individual accepts the offer to cast the vote using such a ballot, the official shall provide the individual with the ballot and the supplies necessary to mark the ballot, and shall ensure (to the greatest extent practicable) that the waiting period for the individual to cast a vote is not greater than the waiting period for an individual who does not agree to cast the vote using such a paper ballot under this paragraph.

Jurisdictions will ensure that a sufficient supply of paper ballots be available, that notice of the option is provided, that the ballots are treated with equal dignity provided to other ballots, including canvassing/counting those ballots on election day, and that consequences are provided for violations. In the event of violations related to the provision, canvassing, and handling of paper ballots, any citizen eligible to vote in the jurisdiction will have standing to go to court to require compliance and authority for the court to grant immediate relief. Funding for training and documentation for election officials and election workers in the proper hand counting methods and election administration using paper ballots will be appropriated to support this provision. Prior to election certification, appropriate protocols must be implemented to ensure the integrity of election results as authenticated by transparent vote counting methods.

(Compliance to be determined by each state in a state plan process that supports the standards for democratic elections, those being citizen oversight and security, and which process includes diverse stakeholders group including citizen representation, published plans, and consequences for noncompliance. State Plans will be published in the Federal Register.)

Effective Date State Plan: February, 2008

Effective Date Implementation: General Election November 2008


2.  In support of the principle of fiscal responsibility and stabilization of state governmental administration, checks and balances and citizen oversight:

BUYOUT funding for states wishing to replace DRE systems with paper-based voting systems.
(BUYOUT funding can be applied to paper ballot, optical scan voting systems, paper ballot, hand count systems, or a combination thereof. In the case of buyout funding as applied to hand count systems, training costs may be included.)

(Compliance to be determined by each state in a state plan process that supports the standards for democratic elections, those being citizen oversight and security, and which process includes diverse stakeholders group including citizen representation, published plans, and consequences for noncompliance. State Plans will be published in the Federal Register.)
Effective Date: February, 2008


3. In support of the principle of checks and balances:
Dissolution of EAC and reallocation of its functional responsibilities to appropriate representational groups (as described below)

Effective Date: January 2008


4.  In support of the principle of fiscal responsibility and stabilization of state governmental administration:
Prohibition on any additional unfunded mandates being added into the bill

Effective Date:  Upon passage

5. In support of the ninth amendment that no single right can trample or trounce others: Appropriations for real study, with real stakeholders including citizen representation and broad range of disability activists, election officials, and other solution makers, to find consensus, practical, implementable solutions to support the often conflicting voting rights of citizen oversight, security, accuracy, and accessibility.

Effective Date:  Upon passage


Reallocation of EAC Responsibilities:





Congress About to Say 'Yes' to Permanent, Secret Vote Counting

Congress to "Just Say Yes" to Permanent Secret Vote Counting

by Nancy Tobi

Centralized control of voting is a form of tyranny, pure and simple. Joseph Stalin is said to have explained why: "Those who cast the votes decide nothing. Those who count the votes decide everything."

Meet the New Boss
Congress is about to pass an election "reform" bill, HR811 (the Holt Bill). The bill will enshrine secret computerized vote counting, controlled by the White House.

The Holt bill would tempt the likes of the late Mayor Daley of Chicago and vote villain Boss Tweed of New York City's Tammany Hall.

How will our modern vote villains resist?

A "yes" vote on the Holt bill allows the federal government to erect an impenetrable wall between American voters and their votes. It will lock in secret vote-counting technology owned by corporations. The public will be shut out for good.

That's why our NH Secretary State, the NH City and Town Clerks Association, and the DFNH Fair Elections Committee all oppose the bill.

They're not alone.

National organizations for the chief voting officials in all 50 states, state legislators, and the nation's counties all oppose the Holt bill. There are more than 100 national and regional voting rights groups who oppose the bill as well.

So, why is Congressman Paul Hodes (D-NH) a cosponsor of the Holt bill? And, why is Congresswoman Carol Shea Porter (D-NH) undecided on the issue?

Lobbyists like Common Cause are promoting HR811 to "get it straight by 2008." But HR811 is primarily drafted for a 2010 effective date. It will never protect our 2008 elections.

Grassroots activists have drafted a simple bill that really can make a difference for 2008. They need a Congressional sponsor but have yet to find any takers.

Congress is stuck on HR811, dangerous flaws and all.

"Power Corrupts. Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely"
The Help America Vote Act, passed in 2002, created the Election Assistance Commission. This shadow White House agency, four presidential appointees, wields total control over voting system standards. They design the computerized voting machines, and even the paper ballots, used in our nation's elections.

HR811 cements voting system control in the hands of the president, shifting the balance of power in elections from the citizenry to The Commission.

This is a complete reversal of the founders' vision of dispersed power.

American Revolutionaries rose in opposition to centralized power and wrote our Constitution to ensure dispersed power, checks and balances, and respect for the citizenry. The founders knew they needed to limit human inclinations to abuse power when a very few are given control over the many.
HR811 makes The Commission a permanent fixture in government: one president appointing four Commissioners with absolute control of our elections.

The American people need to think carefully about this.

HR811 gives the Commissioners broad reaching powers. They will be the "deciders" on selecting precincts for election audits. They will control and own all information related to our voting systems, election results, and audits. They will define all standards and e-voting equipment. The states, our state, will have to report to the Commission to have our election results certified. And our elections will become more complex and computerized, assuring citizens less and less access to the process.

The Money Trail
It's always instructive to follow the money in hard fought political battles, as NH Secretary Gardner recently reminded us.

One of the strongest champions of HR811 is an organization called VoteTrustUSA. This "grassroots" organization has ties to one of the nation's largest "data consolidation" companies, ChoicePoint. Remember them? They helped Katherine Harris purge the Florida 2000 voter registration rolls. Nearly 100,000 registered American voters were denied their right to vote for what journalist Greg Palast called the crime of "voting while black." Palast claims the denied vote – and not hanging chads – is what really cost Gore that election.

Last summer the Atlanta Progressive News reported that the wife of ChoicePoint's CEO Doug Curling has contributed money to VTUSA. Doug Curling confirmed to Bev Harris of Black Box Voting that his wife Donna is a VTUSA donor "and probably a board member". Donna Curling also had participated in leadership groups under an assumed name. She remains involved with this grassroots group, which now has a full time Washington lobbyist working for passage of the Holt bill.

Why would a grassroots election reform organization have these ties to ChoicePoint?

Absolute Power: The Marriage of Federal and Corporate Power
A corporation like ChoicePoint, combined with the Commission, would have one-stop shopping control over our elections. The Commission controls the voting systems and all information relating to elections everywhere in the country.

All the data consolidation company needs to do is overlay their vast demographic and other election data maps over a map of our nation, put together their game plan, and they'll own every election.

They succeeded in Florida. HR811, the Holt Bill, gives them the nation.

EAC Takes Aim at Paper Ballots

May 30, 2007

"So what did the techno-advisory group come up with
in their recommendations for dealing with the "problem" of handling and counting paper ballots?

Paper ballots must now all be technology-enabled. . . 'machine readable.'

Let's think about this for a moment."

By Nancy Tobi

I went to Washington, DC last week. Our nation's capital. I wish I could say that I went solely to enjoy the warm and nourishing hospitality of my food and lodging angel, Arlene. Or that I went to enjoy the May roses not found in New England until much later in the summer. I wish I could say that I went to embrace the massive willow oak in the park outside the congressional office buildings, or that I went just so that I could lie on my back on the grass in the park and feel the rays of the DC sun melt into my face.

But I went to DC for other reasons. I went to attend a meeting of the technological advisory group (TGDC) to the white house agency that oversees the nation’s voting systems, the Election Assistance Commission (EAC), also known as the Commissioners of the Count. There, in the building where museum-like displays remind us of the accomplishments of our National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in areas as abstract and all encompassing as measuring time and space, the federal agency controlling how our votes are counted convenes periodically to review and authorize their ongoing plans for transforming the elections of the United States of America.

Last week, the techno-advisory group for the Commissioners of the Count was putting the final touches on a draft of the next version of their “Voluntary Voting System Guidelines.” Once the work of the techno-advisory group is completed, the Commissioners, four white house appointees, have the final say in approving these standards for e-voting equipment to be used in America's elections.

The guidelines are called "voluntary" because the US Constitution empowers the states, and not the federal government, to administer our elections. Theoretically the Commissioners of the Count can only "recommend" voting system standards to the states. But the reality is, their "guidelines" are nothing less than specifications for voting system technology.

The "guidelines" are, in fact, the Commission’s authorized blueprint for our election systems, which the e-voting industry uses to develop their products.

Additionally, there is an uncomfortable confluence between the Commission’s "voluntary" voting system standards and federal law. Congress stands ready to vote on a controversial piece of election reform legislation known as HR 811, aka the Holt Bill. Within its 62 pages of convoluted language, the bill has a little provision for all voting systems in the nation to convert ballot text into what Holt calls "accessible form." This means that voting jurisdictions must have technology that converts written ballot text into other media such as audio, pictures, or multiple languages. This is fairly complex technology. If the Holt bill passes with this provision, our cities, towns, and counties will be forking over substantial sums of cash for the privilege of adding an exceedingly opaque layer of technology to our elections.

This odd provision did not come out of nowhere. It came straight out of the techno-advisory group’s "voluntary" voting system guidelines, where it was inserted in 2005, against the advice of the nation's top state and local election officials. And there it sat, until along came Mr. Holt, who decided this "voluntary" standard would become the law of the land.

Effectively, the "guidelines" are not voluntary at all. They are the industry specifications that become the products sold to jurisdictions using e-voting equipment rather than hand-counting their elections. And they become the law of the land whenever any particular congressional rep decides to toss them into the election reform law du jour.

Which is why I go to these meetings. The techno-advisory group consists of 14 "specialists," appointed by the Commissioners of the Count, and is chaired by the Director of NIST. I go to observe the manner in which they fulfill their charter to "act in the public interest to assist the Executive Director of the Commission in the development of the voluntary voting system guidelines." I could sit home and watch their webcasts, or read their transcripts, but going in person to the meetings allows me to observe how these decision makers interact with each other. Who is friends with who. Who dares express independent thought, who goes along. It allows me to chat with them during breaks, or with others in the audience, such as senior executives from ES&S and Diebold, two of the larger e-voting companies in the nation.

Two months ago, I went to another of their meetings. I was taken aback at the opening remarks of EAC Chair, Donetta Davidson, who stood up, took the mike, and declared her concerns with paper ballots. "We must address the problems associated with counting paper ballots," she said. This surprised me because these guys are mostly interested in technology-related voting, and I couldn't quite figure where the matter of paper ballots fit in to their scheme. It surprised me too, because of all the problems we hear about in our election systems, rarely are they tracked back to paper ballots. More often than not, the problems have to do with electronic vote flipping (voters press the button for Candidate A but see Candidate B get their vote), machine failures, or anomolous but untrackable results lost in the inner ether of e-voting machines.

Coming from a state like New Hampshire, where hand counting of paper ballots is a time honored tradition and practice, I was confused about the intention of Chair Davidson's assertions. We know in New Hampshire that the tried and true methods for counting and handling paper ballots have stood us in good stead for hundreds of years. Contrary to the picture painted by Chair Davidson, the New Hampshire experience has shown that the public counting of paper ballots delivers integrity of election results far removed from the questions of fraud or failure found in many electronic voting systems.

But in March, 2007, EAC Chair Donetta Davidson was concerned about paper ballots, how they get counted, and how the Commissioners of the Count could address what she described as "the problems people have counting them." So concerned was Chair Davidson, in fact, that she rose to address her advisory group on the issue first thing in the morning of that particular meeting, with the directive that they look into the matter.

Chair Davidson's appeal apparently did not fall on deaf ears. In last week's follow-up meeting, the techno-advisory group unveiled a whole new class of standards for their voting system guidelines: the paper ballots class. In conjunction with their declaration that "the entire voting system shall be verifiable," they expanded their purview to the design of paper ballots, which, as one member stated, "can be verified by the voter after he has marked it."

Their resolutions regarding paper ballots were fairly spare, not having, really, too much to say about this relatively simple and straightforward voting mechanism. Paper ballots stand in stark contrast to the high-tech voting systems which the TGDC otherwise engages itself in designing. The 750 pages of high tech software specifications found in the newest version of voting system guidelines is more up their alley.

So what did the techno-advisory group come up with in their recommendations for dealing with the "problem" of handling and counting paper ballots?

Paper ballots must now all be technology-enabled.

That's right. It is not enough that the Commissioners of the Count have busied themselves designing extraordinarily complex high tech voting systems, which will lead to the development of outrageously expensive and opaque voting machines.

Now, even the nation's paper ballots must be "machine readable."

Let's think about this for a moment.

I feel as though the absurdity of the statement stands on its own and I can just end this article right here and now. But I'll spell it out just a tad further, because the implications of four white house appointees assuming control over paper ballots run deeper than absurdity.

The double declaration that every aspect of the voting system must be verifiable and that paper ballots must be machine readable reflects the belief of this body that elections must be technology-based.

Verifiability is not an issue unless technology is involved.

Voters marking their paper ballots by hand have, in fact, no need to "verify" that the mark they just made is the mark they intended to make. The act of hand marking the paper ballot is enough verification of their voter intent. Verification is only required when technology has come between the voter and his vote. In these circumstance, voters indeed must try to verify that the machine is correctly capturing their intent. The inherent flaw in the verified voting paradigm, however, is that it is really quite impossible for voters to verify anything a software-driven process is doing, because they can not peer inside the bits and bytes of an e-voting machine to see what it is doing with their vote.

Verifiable voting is nothing more than a confidence game.

Hence the title of HR 811: "Increased Voter Confidence Act." Voters do not need confidence that their votes are verifiable. They need checks and balances to ensure that their votes are cast and counted as intended.

The nation has historically depended on voter intent as the ultimate arbiter for election integrity.

Voter intent can only be properly discerned on a hand-marked, hand-cast, hand-counted paper ballot. Voter intent is vastly superior to the ambiguous concept of verifiability when it comes to guaranteeing the citizenry free, fair, open and democratic elections.

The EAC, in broadening its purview to paper ballots, is attempting to replace voter intent with verifiability even for paper ballots, which, it says, must conform to a technology-based voting system.

The EAC is proposing that we replace democratic elections with verifiable elections.

This is a profound paradigm shift for the nation, and the decision for such a dramatic change in America's democracy appropriately rests with the citizenry, and not four white house appointees.

I wonder how many American citizens, if asked, would give the consent of the governed to such a change.

Five-Point Proposal for Open, Public, Accountable Elections

Generate technical guidance on the administration of federal elections.
– HAND OVER TO NIST & STANDARDS BOARD WITH CITIZEN REPRESENTATION

Produce voluntary voting systems guidelines.
– HAND OVER TO NIST & STANDARDS BOARD WITH CITIZEN REPRESENTATION

Research and report on matters that affect the administration of federal elections.  
– HAND OVER TO STANDARDS BOARD & CITIZENS GROUP

Otherwise provide information and guidance with respect to laws, procedures, and technologies affecting the administration of Federal elections.
– HAND OVER TO STANDARDS BOARD & CITIZENS GROUP

Administer payments to States to meet HAVA requirements.
– HAND OVER TO GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION

Provide grants for election technology development and for pilot programs to test election technology. 
– ELIMINATE THIS FUNCTION

Manage funds targeted to certain programs designed to encourage youth participation in elections.
– HAND OVER TO DEPT. OF EDUCATION

Develop a national program for the testing,certification, and decertification of voting systems. 
– HAND OVER TO NIST & STANDARDS BOARD WITH CITIZEN REPRESENTATION

Maintain the national mail voter registration form that was developed in accordance with the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 (NVRA), report to Congress every two years on the impact of the NVRA on the administration of federal elections, and provide information to States on their responsibilities under that law. 
– HAND BACK TO FEC

Audit persons who received federal funds authorized by HAVA from the General Services Administration or the Election Assistance Commission.
– HAND OVER TO GSA, USING INSPECTOR GENERAL

Submit an annual report to Congress describing EAC activities for the previous fiscal year.
– HAND OVER AS APPROPRIATE TO ENTITIES PICKING UP FUNCTIONS AS DESCRIBED ABOVE

Certification, recertification and decertification of voting machines
- DELEGATE TO THE STATES

How to Take Action on Holt and Fix Our Elections -- M. Adams

Originally published September 19, 2007 at OpEd News

How to Take Action on Holt and Fix Our Elections

By Mark Adams

I represented Clint Curtis, John Russell, and Frank Gonzalez in contesting their alleged losses
in 2006 in Florida State court and in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Our contest was instrumental in exerting the pressure to pass a paper ballots law in Florida
which at least gives us something to count if someone can find an attorney who will file a lawsuit or a contest.
However, these contests were dismissed WITHOUT any review of the evidence and contrary to the law
as well as the rights of the candidates and voters to have the votes counted.

As a result, I am well aware of the election reform initiatives and the proposed solutions.
The current Holt bill came out of the same House committee which ignored the law and
refused to even allow us to present evidence showing that Florida’s election results were
contradicted by affidavits of the voters.
The Florida court dismissed these contests saying
that a court action could not be maintained to count the votes even though the
U.S. Supreme Court had ruled that such an action could be maintained in state court
in Roudebush v. Hartke, 405 U.S. 15, 18-27 (1972).

Furthermore, in Christine Jennings contest of her 2006 Florida election
“defeat,” the State court refused to allow her experts to examine the source code.

However, Florida law on trade secrets required the judge to allow her
experts to examine the code under a protective order which would have only
prevented them from disclosing the code, but would not have prevented them
from commenting on whether or not it was set to dump or flip votes.
Curiously, the judge did not dismiss this contest, but the Jennings contest did not
seek a jury trial. However, we did seek a jury trial in our contests as allowed by
the Florida Supreme Court decision in State ex. rel. Whitley v. Rinehart, 192 So.2d 819, 821 (1939).

Most importantly, the 2004 recount in Ohio was fixed. So, what good is a
recount?
If you can’t get to recount the votes in a lawsuit or in an election contest before Congress,
and you can’t trust the bureaucrats who held the election, or threw it in the first place,
to count or recount the votes accurately, how can you make sure that the votes are counted accurately?
Those who are paying attention and truly want to preserve our democracy have realized that lawsuits
and after the fact recounts or audits are a poor substitute for reliable election night counts.

I hope that we can all agree on that important point.

You may be asking, “What does any of this have to do with the Holt bill?”
Well, it has everything to do with it because the Holt bill does not fix elections unless you mean fixing them
in the sense that we have experienced over the last few years. You heard that right!
The Holt bill does not fix elections because it allows counting to continue in secret on computers
which can be manipulated, and even worse, it makes the source code a secret protected under Federal law.

In fact, Congressman Holt himself has said that it is no longer his bill, and Congressman Kucinich
has urged other members of Congress not to pass it.

One of the Holt bill’s advocates, who believes that doing something is better than doing nothing,
even has a list of problems with the Holt bill which is 15 pages long.
See
http://electionmathematics.org/em-legislation/S1487Amendments.pdf

This is why most of us who have been involved with election reform are so
emphatic that the only way to preserve our democracy and our control over our government is
by returning to elections conducted on paper ballots which are then counted in public.
I think that we can all agree that this is the best way to preserve our democracy.
It is also the quickest and least expensive way to do so, and Congressman Kucinich
is considering reintroducing his paper ballots bill.

[Read and hear Congressman Kucinich discussing the Holt bill at Bradblog.com:
http://www.bradblog.com/?p=4788

For the text of the bill, go to:
http://www.electiondefensealliance.org/h_r_6200_the_paper_ballot_act_of_2006]

So, why would anyone want to support a bill that does not fully, easily, and
inexpensively restore transparent elections by requiring voting to take place on paper ballots
which are then counted in public? Are they interested in selling computers, in fixing elections,
or do they just foolishly believe that doing something is better than doing what is best?

The question to you is, do you want to restore and preserve our democracy,
or do you want to entrust it to those who would continue to use secret vote
counting machines which are unreliable, expensive, and unnecessary?

If you are for the Holt bill, think about your position and how easy it would be to
restore and preserve our democracy with a bill mandating paper ballots and
public vote counts.
If you are for fair elections, spread the word like Paul Revere
before Holt passes and the powers that be claim that they have “fixed” our elections.
(Imagine Bush, Cheney, et al., smiling like the Grinch and laughing sinisterly every
time they hear this repeated.)

Now, the obstacle is how to get this information out to the public before it
is too late, Holt passes, and the mainstream media and the politicians tell
everyone that the voting system has been “fixed.” Well, you can take a few
minutes and take action now. It is that easy.

Please think about that, send this to your contacts, and do the right thing
by calling, emailing, and faxing or mailing your Representatives with this
simple message:

“I urge you to restore the use of paper ballots which are counted in public
on election night in all Federal elections. I am very concerned about this
serious issue, and I hope that you will take immediate action to protect
democracy instead of undermining democracy. Please do not support the Holt
bill, and instead, support Congressman Kucinich’s bill calling for hand
counted paper ballots. Thank you.”

To find the contact information for your Congressional representatives, go to:
http://www.congress.org/congressorg/home/

Look for the box to write your elected officials; enter your zip code.
Compose your e-mail message to your federal representatives, with the subject line
“Stop Holt, Restore Public Vote Counting!”

Also, please tell Congressman Kucinich that you support his bill calling for
hand counted paper ballots here:

http://action.dennis4president.com/contact-us/
This will allow him to track the support for his efforts.

Please realize that if your vote does not count, then you no longer have any
power to influence your government!!! If you have no power to influence our
government, you are no longer free, instead you are just a subject whose
wishes, feelings, and life mean nothing to those in power. Please take
action today to restore democracy and to prevent it from being taken away.

Thanks,

Mark A. Adams JD/MBA

For more information on my activities see:


My speech against further media consolidation at FCC Hearing in Tampa
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JAni0WoI7LI

My speech at the Voting System Reform Rally in Tallahassee, Florida on March 21, 2007
On EDA TV: http://electiondefensealliance.org/mark_adams_speaking_about_why_electio...

Link to Speeches by John Russell and Mark Adams at St. Petersburg peace rally on March 17, 2007
Topics: Why we are still at war when the vast majority of Americans are against it, and what you can do about it.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZG5krR3jbhs

My speech titled "No Justice, No Peace"
given at the National Judicial Reform Conference at Rice University in Houston, Texas on August 11, 2007.

Higher Quality Video

Lower Quality Video

Authors Bio:
I represented Clint Curtis, John Russell, and Frank Gonzalez
in contesting their alleged losses in 2006 in Florida State court and in the
U.S. House of Representatives. Our contest was instrumental in exerting
the pressure to pass a paper ballots law in Florida which at least gives us
something to count if someone can find an attorney who will file a lawsuit or a contest.

July 2007 HR811: The new Voter Con Act

Here is the so-called compromise version of the Holt Bill. The all new voter con act: technoelection wonderland mandated for the entire nation by 2012.

Letter to Congress Urging a No Vote on HR 811 -- T. Hommel

The following letter to Congress, written by New York voting activist Teresa Hommel, is offered here as an explanation of the problems in 811, and as a model for similar letters or talking points to use when contacting your Representatives about this bill.


Dear Representative,

I urge you to vote against HR 811, the "Voter Confidence and Increased Accessibility Act of 2007."
Many election integrity activists lobbied for this bill in earlier versions, but this bill contains too many bad provisions to justify passing it.

Do you support:

1. Votes on ballots not required to be counted?

2. Mandate that vendors' trade secret claims override citizens' right to know how elections are conducted?

3. Ballot definition files (which need to be examined by every candidate before each election during logic and accuracy testing) made impossible to obtain in a timely manner?

4. Barriers that would prevent anyone from detecting errors in versions of software?

5. Communications capability allowed in voting systems, and internet connections allowed in central tabulators?

6. Trivial, unenforceable "security" requirements?

7. Citizens, local jurisdictions, states unable to get full information about certification testing.

8. More taxpayers' money to develop voting system software, but no money to develop ways to use and secure publicly-understandable and observable voting methods such as using voter-marked paper ballots?

9. Increased duties and unlimited funds for the Election Assistance Commission ("EAC"), an agency that has failed in each of its mandated functions?

10. $1 billion for new equipment when no products meet 2005 federal standards?

11. Small audits triggered only by margin of victory, when fraud can make electronic voting systems produce any margin of victory?

12. Audits that need not be "surprise" so jurisdictions have time to adjust or lose records?

I hope you will read the legislative analysis of HR811:
http://www.wheresthepaper.org/HR811markupCmt.htm

Here are links detailing the EAC's past dysfunction:

a. GAO Report: All Levels of Government Need to Address E-Voting Challenges
http://www.gao.gov/highlights/d07576thigh.pdf

b. EAC has failed its mission, Testimony of Ellen Theisen, March 13, 2007
http://www.votersunite.org/info/TestimonyTheisen03-13-07.asp

c. EAC: political, secretive, unresponsive to citizen concerns, protective of vendor and ITA interests.
http://www.votersunite.org/info/EACFailedMission.asp

d. EAC, past dysfunction:
http://www.wheresthepaper.org/HR811.html#EAC

HR811 requires touchscreen voting machines ("DREs") to produce a voter-verified paper trail, but most citizens knowledgeable about voting equipment now oppose DREs. We want real voter-marked paper ballots (whether counted by hand or optical scanner), and observation from election day until the election is certified.

Just when surveillance cameras could open our poll sites to continuous observation and prevent fraud, DREs have established a new barrier to citizen oversight. Citizens are shut out. No one can understand the procedures conducted inside DREs. No one can observe in a meaningful way sufficient to attest that procedures and counting were proper and honest. Voters can't even observe their own votes.

Courts today are playing the same role with DREs that courts of yesterday played with wooden ballot boxes that never were opened. Our courts are protecting the secret software and any other secrets inside, such as log files showing communications intrusions, alterations of tally files, and other evidence of fraud. This is the reason we sometimes hear "there's no evidence that DREs have ever been subject to fraud." Despite talk about outside hackers, DREs make insider control of election outcomes easier than ever--just point and click, and after changing the tallies, remember to "save" before you "exit."

HR811 is a mistake! We can do better!

Sincerely yours,

Teresa Hommel

National Association of Secretaries of State Resolutions Regarding Election Reform Legislation

The following resolution was released by the National Association of Secretaries of State at their meeting early this month. The resolution came on the heels of a rather heated exchange between the Secretaries and Congressman Rush Holt's office regarding Holt's latest version of his election reform bill (HR811), which the Secretaries uniformly rejected and called "a horrible bill". The resolution below, wisely drafted generically to apply to any and all proposed legislation coming out from what increasingly appears to be an out-of-touch Congress with respect to what is really needed for meaningful, practical, and fiscally responsible election reform legislation, outlines specifically what they found "horrible" in that particular bill.

NASS Approach to Federal Legislation
Approved February 11, 2007

The nation’s Secretaries of State believe that our federal and state governments must work in cooperation to serve the citizens of the United States. To facilitate the appropriate balance for an equal and effective partnership, the National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS) urges federal officials to adhere to the following guidelines when developing laws and regulations:

1. Members of Congress should respect our country’s legal and historical distinctions in federal and state sovereignty and avoid preemptions of state authority when drafting federal legislation.

2. Federal legislation should include a reasonable timeframe for implementing state requirements or programs.

3. Federal legislation that affects the office and duties of the Secretaries of State should be drafted with input from NASS or a representative sample of the Secretaries of State who would be impacted by the bill.

4. Federal legislation that mandates changes to state laws or regulations should include full funding to support those changes.

5. Federal legislation should not curtail state innovation and authority solely for the sake of creating uniform methods among the states; all legislation should grant states maximum flexibility in determining methodologies properly and effectively carrying out the duties of Secretaries of State, including the protection of voting rights.