Action Alert: Fax US House Admin Cmte Leaders by early Thursday A.M.

The House Administration (full committee) is planning to markup Rep. Holt's Voter Confidence and Increased Accessibility Act of 2007 (HR.
811) on Thursday, March 29 th at 10am. Any letters in support (no!) of or opposition (yes!) to this bill should be addressed to House Administration and faxed to them today or tomorrow so they can be inserted in the Record. The fax numbers for the committee are listed below. The letters can be the same letters you have been sending to your Congressional delegation, simply readdressed to Chairwoman Millender-McDonald and Ranking Member Ehlers.

Members of the Committee on House Administration

Democrats – Fax Number 202-225-7664 Republicans – Fax Number – 202-225-9957

Rep. Juanita Millender-McDonald, CA-37, Chairwoman
Rep. Robert A. Brady, D PA-1st
Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D CA-16th
Rep. Mike Capuano, D MA-8
Rep. Charles Gonzalez, D TX-20
Rep. Susan Davis, D CA-53
Rep. Vernon Ehlers, R MI-3,
Ranking Member
Rep. Dan Lungren, R CA-3
Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R CA-22

Please fax both the Democratic and Republican House Admin. Cmte a short statement or here is the letter I drafted, which you may borrow and revise if you would like.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Dear House Administration Committee Members:

I write this letter in opposition to the passage of HR811 or HR1381. Problems with HR811 and HR1381 which would need amending include:

1. Unreasonable Time Frames for Software Disclosure & Text Verification Technology Implementation: If voting system software were fully publicly disclosed (with no exemption for commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) software), voting equipment would be more secure, reliable, have longer life cycles, and be less costly. However, HR811 and HR1381 allocate:

* Insufficient time to develop standards and testing procedures, to develop new voting systems, and to purchase and implement new voting systems for text verification for voters with disabilities.

* Insufficient time to develop standards and testing procedures, develop new verification and testing infrastructure, purchase and implement new voting systems with publicly disclosed software

2. Insufficient Budgets:

* Budget for nationwide audits with 99% minimum success rates would be approximately $8 Million per federal election (for HR811/HR1381 audits with their 10% success rates cost would be $14 Million/election)

* Budget to immediately replace all in-auditable Paperless DRE machines with 44,000 optical scanners and 67,000 ballot marking devices (BMDs) for voters with disabilities and alternate language requirements would be $555 Million (HR811/HR1381 costs to replace all DREs without durable paper that protects ballot privacy with 74,000 optical scanners and 124,000 BMDs would be $990 Million)

* HR811/HR1381 budgets nothing for the ongoing infrastructure and technical manpower that would be required to verify that the publicly disclosed software is the same as that actually used during elections.

3. Audits are Ineffective, Administratively Burdensome, and Costly

* When tested against actual 2002 and 2004 election results, the HR811/HR1381 election audits have minimum success rates of 10% but cost up to 94% more and are more administratively burdensome than a
99% success rate audit.

4. Strengthens the role of the US Election Assistance Commission
(EAC): HR811 and HR1381 consolidate and strengthen power in the executive branch of government in an agency that is currently run by former board members of The Election Center. The Election Center was co-founded by Doug Lewis, a used computer vendor and Doug Wilkey, the current EAC Director, in order to bring election officials together with suppliers of election products. The current executive director Wilkey and the current chair of the EAC, Davidson, were board members of The Election Center, and became NASED officers when The Election Center incubated NASED; and now they control the EAC. Wilkey, Lewis, and Davidson were largely responsible for the control, selection and oversight of the voting machine test labs and the certification of voting machines; and have resisted measures to subject election results to independent scrutiny. According to GAO reports, the EAC has not accomplished any of the functions it was assigned by Congress. It would be dangerous to our form of government to cede so much power over elections to the federal executive branch.

5. HR811 does not provide for meaningful Citizen Oversight over elections via access to election records, and HR1381 does not budget for the equipment that is needed by election officials to make election records publicly available. (up to $30 Million to provide special scanners to each jurisdiction that could easily scan all election records to make electronic and paper copies)

6. HR811 permits network connections to election management systems, allowing remote manipulation of election results. Network connections are unnecessary for either upgrading systems or for uploading election results. These tasks can be accomplished using removable write-once physical media.

7. HR811 has a loophole that allows states which declare "recounts" to avoid having their election results subjected to any independent audits, despite the facts that

* most state recount procedures are not independent; and

* many state "recount" procedures involve merely rerunning electronic tallies and involve no manual audits; and

* many state "recount" procedures involve manual audits that are insufficient; and

* some states "recounts" involve manual audits but do not compare the manual counts with the electronic tallies used on the central tabulator, which are kept secret from the public and even from candidates.

Instead of passing HR811 or HR1381, we recommend splitting current election reform legislation into several separate bills which each address fewer topics and which have more reasonable time frames, enforceable requirements, provisions for citizen oversight, respects states' rights and allows states more flexibility, provides sufficient funding to cover its requirements, and is more cost-efficient and effective than current election reform proposals, as outlined in this "One-Page Concept Proposal for Federal Election Reform Legislation" available online here:

Dozens of persons contributed to writing the "One-Page Concept Proposal for Federal Election Reform Legislation" over many months of discussion, after dedicating themselves for years to bringing verifiable integrity to U.S. elections. Recent revisions were based on input from state and county election officials including Bruce Funk, former (23 year) chief election official of Emery County, Utah; and revisions were made by Nancy Tobi, Co-founder and Chair of Democracy for New Hampshire; by Bev Harris, Director of Black Box Voting; and by Phil Fry, Citizens Alliance for Secure Elections (CASE), Ohio.

Any help that you can be in getting this election reform legislation sponsored in time for independent verification of election integrity to be in effect by November 2008 would be greatly appreciated.


Kathy Dopp


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