Immediate Release                Contact: J.R. Crump                               
May 9, 2007                            (202) 226-3355

(Washington, DC) Chairman Robert A. Brady (D-PA) led the Committee on House Administration to a victory for the American voter today, referring H.R. 811, the Voter Confidence and Increased Accessibility Act of 2007, to the full House for consideration.  The bill will ensure that all voting machines provide a durable voter-verified paper ballot, allowing voters to confirm their choices, by the 2008 election, and establish audit standards for election tallies.   

The Committee adopted a substitute amendment by Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) to clarify voter verification requirements and improve accessibility for disabled voters, with at least one accessible voting machine required at each polling place.  In response to concerns expressed by the software industry, the substitute would protect proprietary software used in voting machines while ensuring its review by independent testing labs.  The Lofgren substitute also provides for $1 billion in federal funding to support state and local governments' conversion of voting machines.

In addition, the Voter Confidence and Increased Accessibility Act of 2007  requires election officials to use the original ballots cast by voters in any recount or audit of election results, specifying that the ballots must be available to be counted by hand.  In rare cases where paper ballots are proven to be compromised, audit procedures would be determined according to state laws.  The Lofgren substitute provides flexible audit requirements meeting statistical standards established by the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

The Committee also adopted an amendment by Rep. Michael E. Capuano (D-MA) requiring that a paper ballot be offered to any voter who requests it, regardless of the primary voting system in their precinct.  This amendment supplements a provision in the underlying bill requiring that every polling place have paper ballots on hand in case of machine failure or other circumstances that cause delay.  The language also requires the posting of notice regarding the right of voters to access the paper ballot in every polling place.  

The Committee rejected several amendments that would have undercut the bill's fundamental purpose to create a transparent, reliable voting system.  In opposing an amendment that would require additional voter identification, Reps. Zoe Lofgren and Artur Davis (D-AL) recalled the days when such devices were successfully used to intimidate minority and underprivileged voters.  Rep. Lofgren noted the recent studies that have shown the provision would still disproportionately deprive poor and minority voters of their right to vote.  The amendment was defeated. 

As finally reported, the bill allows jurisdictions that did not have any voter-verified paper ballots at all in 2006 until November 2008 to meet the requirements of H.R. 811.  All jurisdictions that used any paper ballot-based voting system in 2006, including thermal reel-to-reel systems and disability accessible systems that used a paper ballot in any manner, may wait until the first election in 2010.  Only six states would be required to replace all of their voting machines by 2008 (Delaware, Georgia, Louisiana, Maryland, South Carolina, and Tennessee).  Four states, New Mexico, Nevada, North Carolina, and West Virginia, recently converted to voter verifiable paper ballot systems in less than one year.


About the Committee on House Administration 

The Committee on House Administration is the committee of the House of Representatives charged with the oversight of federal elections and the day-to-day functions of the House of Representatives.

The Committee's jurisdiction over federal elections requires it to consider proposals to amend federal election law and to monitor Congressional elections across the United States. The Committee was instrumental in the passage of the Help America Vote Act of 2002, which former Presidents Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter called the most meaningful improvement in election laws and voting safeguards in a generation. This law provided more than $3 billion dollars for the improvement of voting equipment and procedures to make the voting process more accessible and to guard against fraud.

House Administration manages the daily operations that keep the House of Representatives running smoothly. The budget authorizations for expenses of House committees, and those for expenses of Members of Congress, are set by the Committee. Additionally, the Committee is responsible for oversight of the House officers, including the administrative and technical functions of the House.

The security of the Capitol Complex has become an even higher priority since the devastating attacks of September 11, 2001. The House Administration Committee, which oversees security on the House side of the Capitol Complex, works closely with the Capitol Police to ensure that every effort is made to keep the Capitol Complex extremely secure while maintaining accessibility for the millions of constituents who visit every year.

The Committee also oversees the management of the Library of Congress and the Smithsonian Institution (including the National Zoo).




Rep. Robert A. Brady, PA-1st
Committee Chairman

Rep. Vernon Ehlers, MI-3,
Ranking Member

Rep. Zoe Lofgren, CA-16th

Rep. Dan Lungren, CA-3

Rep. Mike Capuano, MA-8

Rep. Kevin McCarthy, CA-22

Rep. Charles Gonzalez, TX-20


Rep. Susan Davis, CA-53


Rep. Artur Davis, AL-7