State and County Election Administrators Oppose H.R. 811

Statement published at
Click to download as PDF

March 19, 2007

Dear Member of Congress:

The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) and the National Association of
Counties (NACo) urge you to oppose H.R. 811, S. 559 or other legislation that would
require dramatic changes in state and local election laws, technology and procedures.

State law controls the processes and administration of elections for federal, state and local
office and the procedures and technology vary greatly across the nation. States have been
extremely aggressive in addressing concerns about the security of our voting systems that
arose as a result of the mandates that Congress imposed as part of the Help America Vote
Act. In addition, counties are going to great lengths to ensure administrative practices
that protect the security of the voting systems and ensure the transparency of audit
processes. This legislation would exacerbate, rather than assist states and counties
in addressing, these challenges which could lead to disastrous unintended
consequences in the 2008 presidential election.

H.R. 811 and S. 559 are a one-size-fits all approach which would rush new voting
technology to market that has not even been developed without testing or certification
and without adequate time for pollworker training and voter education. Twenty-seven
states have already passed paper trail laws and thirteen more are considering this
approach in their current legislative sessions. In total, forty states have either passed or
are considering the question of whether a paper audit trail is right for their state. States
that have passed laws have done so in unique and varied ways to best meet the needs of
their constituents. The pending federal legislation seeks to undermine the hard work of
our nation’s state legislatures and is deeply flawed.

Even if the requirements of this legislation were realistic within the specified deadline,
state and local governments are understandably skeptical of promises of federal funding
for a new, multi-billion-dollar federal mandate for additional election technology and
practices. Congress has repeatedly failed to live up to its fiscal commitments under the
Help America Vote Act. It neither provided timely resources to the Election Assistance
Commission and the National Institute of Standards and Technology to adopt voting
systems standards as promised nor fully funded grants to the states for purchase of
accessible voting equipment.

The Help America Vote Act achieved implementation of new voting equipment and
procedures within a four-year timeframe without disastrous unintended consequences
only because Congress carefully crafted its provisions through extended consultation and
significant input from organizations representing state and local elected officials and
election administrators.

To pursue a more reasoned approach on this issue, please have your staff contact or
Alysoun McLaughlin with the National Association of Counties at 202-942-4254/ or Susan Frederick with the National Conference of State
Legislatures at 202-624-3566/


William T. Pound, Executive Director
National Conference of State Legislatures

Larry Naake, Executive Director
National Association of Counties

NCSL_NACo_Opposition.pdf547.05 KB