A Challenge to Opponents of a Ban on Electronic Ballots
Seeking Just One Democracy-Serving Reason to Keep DREs Allowable Under the Holt Bill
I challenge anyone to put forward an actual disadvantage of amending Representative Rush Holt's bill
(HR 811, "The Voter Confidence and Increased Accessibility Act of 2007") to ban electronic ballots. With a few moments'
thought, I can list five bad things (which opponents might anticipate) that such an amendment would NOT do and fifteen
good — actually, critical — things it WILL do.
Is there even one way in which electronic ballots serve our democracy better than true paper ballots?
I claim that an amendment banning electronic ballots has LOTS of advantages and NO disadvantages — for our country and
its democracy, anyway. And I challenge anyone to think of a democracy-serving reason why NOT to amend it. "The bill
won't pass with the amendment" doesn't count. I'm looking for a genuine disadvantage of the amendment.
Here's what I see. Tell me if I've missed something….
The amendment WILL NOT:
1. increase the number of jurisdictions that have to update their equipment under HR 811,
2. nor diminish HR 811’s accessibility requirements for people with disabilities or language needs,
3. nor increase the appropriations required for HR 811 or the costs incurred by the states,
4. nor delay elections results,
5. nor increase the work of election directors. On the contrary, some New Mexico clerks even said that after they
eliminated electronic ballots, they had the smoothest election ever.
The amendment WILL:
1. simplify poll worker training and enable people who aren’t computer experts to work effectively at the polls.
With over half a million poll workers in the field on election day, we can’t require all of them to be computer experts.
2. prevent ethnic profiling from being accomplished INSIDE the voting booth by machines that require a voter to
choose their language.
3. prevent long lines at polling places.
4. prevent another Sarasota. If something goes wrong in an election — and it will — we will be able to find out the
cause of the problem.
5. eliminate vote-flipping, where a voter’s selection changes on the screen before their very eyes.
6. allow elderly voters and others who are not computer-savvy to vote in a way that makes sense to them and doesn’t
cause anxiety or embarrassment.
7. reduce the need for vendor technicians to solve problems in the field on election day.
(The list has gotten long, so this is just a reminder that I'm listing what an amendment requiring a ban on electronic
ballots WILL do.)
8. simplify the testing and certification process managed by the EAC.
9. reduce the operating costs of election offices across the country.
10. allow implementation of HR 811 by 2008 because the technology is already available, rather than not yet
.....and the most important ones....
11. allow every voter to verify the ballot that is counted, rather than merely verifying a screen or paper
representation of their ballot, which may or may not match the one that counts.
12. enable voters to know that their votes were recorded as they intended.
13. increase voter confidence in election results by enabling meaningful observation of ballot handling and
14. allow audits on questionable elections to be conducted by ordinary citizens, rather than requiring formal
studies by teams of computer technology experts.
15. restore simplicity to our elections.
So, what's a reason — even ONE reason — NOT to amend the Holt bill to ban electronic ballots?
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