September 5, 2007


Rep. Susan Davis's Statement to Restrict the Use of DRE Electronic Voting Machines


WASHINGTON – Congresswoman Susan Davis (D-Calif) released the following statement on her effort to offer an amendment to Rep. Rush Holt’s bill (H.R. 811) to ban paperless voting.


“Electoral integrity is of the utmost importance to guaranteeing our democracy and I support many of the provisions of Rep. Rush Holt’s bill (H.R. 811) and respect the thought behind it.


“However, as we have looked closely at all the issues concerning Election Day voting systems, we are still ignoring the 800 pound gorilla in the room.  Although Rep. Holt’s bill has looked at many tough issues, there is one controversial issue that seems to come up again and again in my discussions with voters, activists and elections officials.  It is an issue that has been dealt with in many states including my home state of California just recently with the Secretary of State’s Top-to-Bottom review.  The wealth of data and opinions on this topic are so strong that I feel Congress would be remiss if we do not allow a debate on the question of whether and how Direct Recording Electronic (DRE) Voting Machines should be used in federal elections.


“In an attempt to spark debate on this issue, I proposed an amendment to H.R. 811 allowing every polling place to have one DRE with a paper trail for those who want or need to use it—sort of a paper or plastic option.  And of course, early voting could be done electronically because it makes the most sense when voters from any of thousands of precincts show up to vote in the same place and stocking all the different paper ballots can be a nightmare.  What’s more, problems of the past such as long lines from broken machines or elections with no record like we saw in Florida’s 13th Congressional District could not happen.  There would be fewer problems that lead to long lines and disenfranchisement, people with disabilities could vote privately, a true paper record would be available for recounts and costs would shrink.


“It is my hope that Congress will address this issue in the near future.  Our democracy is too important to ignore this issue any longer.”