From: Doug Kellner

Date: Tue, 20 Mar 2007 16:04:55

Subject: Testimony of Doug Lewis


I am attaching a copy of the testimony of Doug Lewis, Executive Director of the Election Center.  Like it or not, I believe that his testimony does express the sentiments of the overwhelming majority of election officials throughout the nation.


I note that Lewis started right at the outset to explain the confusion in HR 811 between recounts and audits.  I note additionally that Section 327 of the HR 811 audit provisions would exempt states from the audit rules if the states provide for recounts in close races.  This is the only place in the bill that uses the word “recount,” but HR 811 does not define the meaning of “recount.”  


I believe very strongly that if a jurisdiction is going to use a direct recording electronic voting machine (DRE), then it is absolutely essential that the machine have a voter verifiable paper audit trail AND that the VPATs actually be audited to insure that the electronic machine accurately counted the vote as the voter intended.  As Doug Lewis testified, however, the devil is in the details.  Congress got it wrong when it passed the Help America Vote Act in 2002 and there is a high probability that HR 811 in its current form could create another form of expensive mischief that could interfere with the efficient administration of elections.


While I am fully committed to the requirement for a voter verifiable paper audit trail, Doug Lewis is also correct that no state now has a voting system that complies with the requirements of HR 811.  As New York has revealed to the rest of the nation, no voting machine manufacturer now produces a voting system that meets all of the current standards.  The November 2008 deadline in HR 811 is completely unrealistic.  It would create even more chaos as states purchase new voting equipment that, like the voting equipment purchased after HAVA 2002, is not sufficiently tested.


I am torn by my 14-year crusade to require a voter verifiable paper audit trail in all direct recording voting equipment and the new problems that would inevitably arise if HR 811 should be enacted in its current form.


Douglas A. Kellner


New York State Board of Elections