GATHERING TO SAVE OUR DEMOCRACY
5985 FLY HOLLOW ROAD, SANTA FE, TN 38482
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WHAT WE LEARNED YESTERDAY AT THE ELECTION OFFICIALS ANNUAL SEMINAR ….
n Tennessee election administrators and election commission members are a friendly, diverse and dedicated group who are happy to discuss the future of voting with us.
n Many of you truly believe that you have workable, secure and accountable voting systems in your county right now – unfortunately, they’re punch cards. We agree that trading an old-fashioned but very auditable paper ballot-based voting system for new options that may be both more expensive and less accountable is a difficult place to be.
n The vendors at the seminar repeated that their voting systems either start with or can produce voter-verified paper ballots/records. However, the costs to do this vary widely.
n The challenges faced by election administrators and commissioners in Tennessee remain to continue to protect the integrity and accountability of our voting systems now and in the future, in the face of sometimes incomplete and contradictory information.
AND WHAT YOU MIGHT NOT HAVE LEARNED….
n There are a half dozen bills now in the U.S. Congress to modify and enhance HAVA in a number of ways. All of these bills, whether submitted by Republicans or Democrats, require a voter-verified paper ballot/record. One of these bills (HR550) has over 130 bipartisan co-sponsors and may succeed in reaching the floor of the House soon.
n Thirty-eight states now require a voter-verified paper ballot/record or are considering implementing this requirement in their elections. Eight states have passed these laws in the past two months, including one (Connecticut) where the law passed without a single opposing vote in either their House or Senate.
n In this session of the Tennessee legislature, bills were introduced to require a voter-verified paper ballot/record and to require that any software used by voting machines be open to examination. While these bills are only in their preliminary stages, the bipartisan support shown for these bills is impressive. While our organization showed our own lack of familiarity with how the Legislature works by working to support these bills too late in this first session, we are fast learners. We did want you to know that a voter-verified paper ballot/record bill will be supported more effectively in the next legislative session, and Tennessee may join with the majority of other states who want to maintain secure and accountable voting systems that protect their votes and insure trust in our elections.
n There is a wealth of experience in other states and cities that we should learn from. When cities like Miami-Dade County, Florida are willing to scrap almost $25 million in three-year-old electronic voting equipment because of the problems they have experienced, we need to be making our next steps here in Tennessee in the most informed manner possible. One place to start getting informed is www.votersunite.org.
n While we are not here to discuss the many problems that occurred in the 2004 election, there is more than enough evidence that problems occurred that should be addressed. One place to start reviewing that evidence is in the Congressional report on Ohio. You can find this report at www.house.gov/judiciary_democrats/ ohiostatusrept1505.pdf
WE HOPE TO GET A CHANCE TO MEET MANY MORE OF YOU TODAY.
WE’RE THE CITIZEN-GUESTS WITH THE ORANGE FOLDERS.
COME ASK US QUESTIONS AND TELL US ABOUT YOUR OWN VOTING ISSUES.