Voting rights advocates scored a significant victory
today when legislation addressing voting machine problems advanced out of
the House Committee on Administration by a 6 to 3 vote.
The Voter Confidence and Increased Accessibility Act (H.R. 811), would
ban paperless voting machines and require all voting to either be done
directly on paper, or on machines that produce voter-verifiable paper
ballots and meet strict security and auditability requirements. It is
sponsored by Congressman Rush Holt (D-N.J.).
People For the American Way President Ralph G. Neas praised today’s
development and urged the Congress to quickly consider the legislation on
the House floor.
“In November, 18,000 votes went missing on voting machines in Sarasota
County, Florida. If voting machine problems are a sickness, the Holt bill
is good medicine. We must make every effort possible to ensure that an
injustice like Sarasota never happens again,” Neas said. “This bill will
end paperless voting —period. It will make paper ballots the norm, and
impose strict new requirements on all voting machines to ensure they are
accurate, reliable, accessible and secure. We urge the full House to pass
this legislation quickly, so its reforms can be implemented in time for
the 2008 presidential election.”
Republican leaders in the House Committee on Administration introduced 12
amendments, including an egregious photo identification provision that
would potentially disenfranchise millions of voters. All 12 amendments
“What we saw at today’s mark-up was a last-ditch effort to rehash this
misguided voter fraud debate that only serves to limit access to the
ballot of certain communities, and does little to nothing to secure the
ballot,” Neas said.
People For the American Way is one of the nation’s leading advocates of
federal election reform. The organization worked with Congressman Holt’s
staff as the legislation was drafted, and public policy director Tanya
Clay House testified on the legislation before the House Administration
The Holt bill already has more than 200 co-sponsors in the House, and a
broad array of voting rights, civil rights and progressive organizations
supporting it. In addition to People For the American Way and People For
the American Way Foundation, Holt bill supporters include Common Cause,
MoveOn, SEIU, the National Education Association, the Brennan Center, the
Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, Vote Trust USA, Verified
Voting, and prominent voting technology experts Avi Rubin and Ed Felten.
For more information about the Holt bill, visit http://www.pfaw.org/go/fixingthemachines.
to see our letter to the House Administration Committee in support of