----------put your contact info here-------name, address, email---------


Senator Charles Schumer

United States Senate

Washington D.C. 20510

By Fax: 202-228-3027


Please do NOT sponsor S1487 -- Please do NOT vote for it!


Dear Senator:


I am your constituent! I oppose S1487, the election reform bill introduced by Sen. Dianne Feinstein that is now in the Senate Rules and Administration Committee. Please do not sponsor or vote for S1487. Please carefully evaluate the details of this bill.


Do you want:

  1. Control of our elections shifted from counties and states to the federal government, via dozens of new requirements on states?
  2. The Election Assistance Commission (“EAC”), a politicized and non-functional temporary body, to become a permanent regulatory agency with unlimited funds and an exemption from Freedom of Information requests?
  3. New legal requirements to make sure that secret software stays secret? Mandate for the EAC to work with manufacturers of voting systems to protect their commercial interests from citizens, states, and parties who would exercise oversight over elections, or observe certification testing?
  4. Requirement for non-surprise audits, and no requirement to investigate inconsistencies?
  5. More federal spending for “research” on how to make electronic touchscreen voting machines (“DREs”) meet HAVA requirements for auditability and accessibility, after we have already discovered that this equipment doesn’t work and is inappropriate for use in elections due to concealment of votes and the handling of them?
  6. “Benchmarks” set by the EAC mandated to continue past patterns of disenfranchisement of “distinct communities”?
  7. Complete federal control over what voting equipment any state can use?
  8. Mandate for Ballot Definition Files, which must be routinely inspected before and after all elections by candidates, to become secret and undisclosed?
  9. Communications capability in voting machines, and internet connections to central tabulators?
  10. “Emergency” certification of software “patches” with no testing, immediately before elections?
  11. Trivial and easily circumvented “security” requirements?
  12. Emergency ballots in case of equipment failure--but the ballots don’t have to be counted till much later?
  13. “Trust-based” rules for avoiding conflicts of interest?
  14. Requirement for all states to allow no-excuse absentee voting?
  15. Requirement for all states to conduct at least 15 days of early voting?
  16. Requirement for states to take over poll worker training from local governments, and keep paperwork showing that each poll worker received a manual?
  17. Requirement for distribution of poll site resources (including voting equipment) based on past patterns of disenfranchisement?
  18. Feel-good trivial prohibitions on campaign activities by chief state election officials so that no one need be restricted?
  19. Voters purged from registration lists required to be notified and told why they were dropped, but not required to be told how to restore their registration?
  20. Mountains of paperwork and procedures for “accredited” “election observers” who can only watch procedures in a poll site that are typically not performed in poll sites?


I hope you will read the legislative analysis of S1487:

    a.  www.wheresthepaper.org/S1487WhyIsItWrong.htm    (functions/problems/solutions)

    b.  www.wheresthepaper.org/S1487withCmt.htm              (bill text with comments embedded)

Here are links detailing the EAC’s past dysfunction:

    a. GAO Report: All Levels of Government Need to Address E-Voting Challenges


    b. EAC has failed its mission, Testimony of Ellen Theisen, March 13, 2007 


    c. EAC: political, secretive, unresponsive to citizen concerns, protective of vendor and 

        ITA interests.  www.votersunite.org/info/EACFailedMission.asp

    d. EAC, past dysfunction:  www.wheresthepaper.org/HR811.html#EAC


S1487 touches on important topics but in trivial or harmful ways. Many requirements carry burdensome administrative overhead with minimal benefit. For example, the section on “election observers” requires maximum state paperwork and administration including an appeal procedure, but the observers are mandated only to watch 3 procedures typically not performed in poll sites.


S1487 bans paperless touchscreen voting machines (“DREs”), but assumes that America’s future election equipment will consist of DREs with a paper trail. Most citizens knowledgeable about voting equipment now oppose DREs. We want real voter-marked paper ballots (whether counted by hand or optical scanner), and observation from election day until the election is certified.


Just when surveillance cameras could open our poll sites to continuous observation and prevent  fraud, DREs establish a new barrier to citizen oversight. Citizens are shut out. And under S1487 states, candidates and parties are also shut out. No one can understand the procedures conducted inside DREs. No one can observe in a meaningful way sufficient to attest that procedures and counting were proper and honest. Voters can’t even observe their own votes.


Courts today are playing the same role with DREs that courts of yesterday played with wooden ballot boxes that never were opened. Our courts are protecting the secret software and any other secrets inside, such as log files showing communications intrusions, alterations of tally files, and other evidence of fraud. This is the reason we sometimes hear “there’s no evidence that DREs have ever been subject to fraud.” Despite talk about outside hackers, DREs make insider control of election outcomes easier than ever--just point and click, and after changing the tallies, remember to “save” before you “exit”.


S1487 is a mistake! We can do better!


Sincerely yours,