Back when only a relative few saw the huge dangers to democracy, of privatized, corporate-controlled, riggable electronic voting systems, Rep. Rush Holt's bill, HB550 seemed like a huge improvement over the electronics and their unethical vendors, that were being "legally" spread nationwide into democracy's elections by the Help America Vote Act of 2002. HB550's demands for paper trails on machines, election results audits and more then at least seemed like moves toward some sort of solutions.
Since then however, so many more ugly facts have been found about these machines, and the top-down political cronyism who've basically handed over our billions of our tax monies, to their friends/corporate vendors, via pushing their sales into to the majority of counties in the nation, paid for with "free"( ie. our federal tax )money - while also allowing those inside and at the top the easy ability to rig our elections- it's become patently clear. Holt's 1/4 solution, now morphed into HB811, is NO solution at all.
It's a danger for many reasons, the largest one is that it:
• leaves the secret software machines in placeThe ONLY solution to citizens' elections are PAPER BALLOTS, which can, as the National Institute of Standards and Technology has recommended determine election results completely INDEPENDENTLY of any software, the most inherent vulnerability point.
• demands sales of more of this riggable, junk that just add more opaque layers to the process of what should be transparent, easily verifiable election results to anyone's human perceptions, without need for a unseen computer code intervening, and
• proliferates the notion and law that those already somehow "elected" into power, will even more tightly control future election laws and processes that determine who gets in next - helping a big show of "selections" only look like "elections."
The two biggest factors against Holt's HB811 mentioned by Nacy Tobi of New Hampshire are:
• Holt demands a software driven text conversion device for electronic election results to again be read by the human eye. Besides adding a ridiculous completely insecure, back and forth opaque layer, to what printers, paper and pencils could provide originally, these are also devices that don't even exist yet, and won't in any thoroughly tested or certifiable form for the bill's also mandated 2008 timeline. Then the vendors can also again charge whatever they want, producing a huge unfunded mandate for counties.
Tobi states:"That's why the National Association of Counties and National Conference of State Legislatures, and NASS all oppose the bill. They know a 4 BIL dollar unfunded mandate when they see one."
• Also HB811 gives more unopposable power to the Election Assistance Commision who, by HAVA's entitlement sets "standards" for these machines, and some nationwide election processes. The EAC can be made up of four presidential cronies, left alone to decide what kind of and which companies' voting equipment are authorized for use in our elections.
Holt's demanded audits, paper trails (which every well-known, national computer expert calls nothing more than "fools' gold",) and supposedly the (EAC-decided) better certification and testing standards, is only another sham, making the first one, HAVA WORSE, not better.
A big fear on the part of pro-HB 811'ers is one of the fear of lack propounded daily by this country's administration in every way - here, that if we don't get this bill through, we'll be stuck with the mess of HAVA: ie. this or nothing. Which is absolutely wrong.
And, two huge, official wrongs certainly don't make things right for us and our elections - they make it HARDER for us to make things right.
And when it comes to the cornerstone of our democratic freedoms, the ability of US to chose who and what we want - we urgently need RIGHT elections.
Call your representative now, and tell him/her to OPPOSE the passage of HB 811. There could be a vote as early as this week or right after Easter.
We deserve and can do much better. We need elections on paper ballots, that we can count and truly can watch being counted ourselves.