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HomePoliticsFate of Electronic Voting Debated: Your Testimony Urgently Needed!

Fate of Electronic Voting Debated: Your Testimony Urgently Needed!

Electronic Voting/No Paper Trail

Citizens have until 5:00 PM Tuesday, July 24th, to fax / email their testimony to the Senate Rules Committee on S1487, Senator Diane Feinstein’s weak election reform bill, which threatens to eliminate the ban on paperless electronic voting contained in Rep Rush Holt’s bill, HR 811. Georgia election officials oppose HR 811 because it threatens our system of paperless electronic voting in Georgia; Defenders of Democracy supports HR 811 for the same reason. Take These Actions NOW

1. Submit your public testimony to Senator Feinstein for the Wednesday, July 25th, Rules and Administration Committee Hearing on S 1487. Testimony MUST be received by Tuesday 5PM and it will be included in official record. Send email to: sue_wright@rules.senate.gov or fax to: Sue Wright 202 224 5400. State BEFORE your comments that you are providing testimony or comments for submission into the record of S1487 hearings. Include your name, organization, address, and other pertinent contact information, and be sure that it is submitted by 5 p.m. Eastern time Tuesday.

Please include this list of recommendations for amendments to S1487.

Remember that the MOST CRUCIAL thing for 2008 will be the independent audits – sufficient manual counts of voter verifiable paper ballot records. Items 6-14 will be crucial in providing secure, fair, and auditable elections procedures now completely unavailable in Georgia, though items one through six are necessary as well. Email and fax these recommendations to the Rules Committee Members and to your own Senators:


2. Contact Senator Feinstein’s office now regarding the shortage of credible participants with the appropriate expertise in math and computers science testifying in the hearing panels. Senator Feinstein’s number is 202/224-3841. The above information is a short list of a detailed set of actions items suggested to amend the bill with meaningful standards. The complete action list, together with a list of Senators and their live contact links can be found at: http://www.defendersofdemocracy.com/drupal/node/188 as well as below. Contact information for key Senators, including Georgia’s Saxby Chambliss, who is on the rules committee, are included.

Action Alert: Please Act Now to Save Our Democracy! What is Happening in the US Senate?

Wednesday July 25th S1487 Senate Hearing – Tuesday Deadline to Submit Testimony The National Election Data Archive is sending out this first in a two-part alert, to let people know that election reform is endangered in both the US House and US Senate; and to ask everyone to make a small effort this week and next week to achieve integrity in the 2008 election. According to The New York Times, Senator Dianne Feinstein, Democrat of California and the chairwoman of the Senate Rules Committee, said she has decided against seeking any major changes in voting equipment before 2010.

“My sense is there’s no way to get this thing in place by the election of 2008,” Ms. Feinstein said. “Without adequate time, we could cause real problems in the election.”

On July 25th, 2007, at 10:00 AM, the Senate Committee on Rules and Administration will hold hearings on S. 1487, the Ballot Integrity Act.

The Senate Rules Committee hearing scheduled for July 25 has a very unbalanced list of participants. The list is heavily weighted with unapologetic opponents of voter verified paper ballots. They selected Michael Shamos to give testimony while ignoring more respected experts in computer science and mathematics. Shamos is noted for saying, “…I believe I and the republic will survive if a president is elected who was not entitled to the office.”

The Senate hearings fail to include any recognized experts who support a tangible record of the vote. For the hearing to have any balance at all, recognized electronic voting experts should be included. Creditable voting system experts who should be included in this panel: Dr. David Dill of Stanford, the founder of the Verified Voting Foundation and VerifiedVoting.org, and Dr Barbara Simons, former President of the Association for Computing Machinery, the world’s largest association of computing professionals.

Wednesday witnesses for Senate Hearing

The hearing will consist of 2 panels, with the following witnesses testifying:

Panel 1:

  • The Honorable Deborah L. Markowitz, Vermont Secretary of State, Montpelier, VT (Representing National Association of Secretaries of State)
  • Mr. George N. Gilbert, Director, Guilford County Board of Elections, Greensboro, NC
  • Ms. Wendy Noren, Boone County Clerk, Columbia, MO
  • (Representing National Association of Counties)
  • Dr. Michael I. Shamos, Professor, School of Computer Science, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA
  • Mr. Ray Martinez, Policy Adviser, The Pew Center on the States, Former Member, Election Assistance Commission, Austin, TX

Panel 2:

  • Ms. Mary Wilson, President, League of Women Voters, Washington, DC
  • Mr. Doug Lewis, Executive Director, The Election Center, Houston, TX
  • Ms. Tanya Clay House, Director of Public Policy, People for the American Way, Washington, DC

Talking Points

According to the NY Times, Congress is considering postponing the replacement of any existing flawed DRE equipment (even paperless DREs) until 2012 which means that no manual counts of Voter verifiable paper ballots can be required to check machine counts until 2012.

The MOST CRUCIAL thing for 2008 is to require independent audits – manual counts of voter verifiable paper ballot records. Without 2008 deadlines for replacing paperless DREs and requiring valid manual audits, New Mexico would be the only state which conducts independent manual checks of unofficial machine outcomes in 2008. A few other states, like California and North Carolina, would conduct some publicly held hand counts to check the accuracy of their machine vote counts. A few other states conduct election audits after the outcomes are certified or conduct internal sham audits which do not verify the accuracy of the unofficial tallies.

Moving all HR811’s deadlines to 2012 would leave us wide-open to vote fraud and miscount switching who wins office in 2008. Software disclosure is complex and takes many years to accomplish in any meaningful way and could be properly addressed in federal legislation in 2009 and beyond if election results in 2008 are accurate.

DRE voting machines

  1. Are more expensive to use than opti-scan machines. Some the DRE paper-printers come at a price tag of some $2000 apiece. DREs w/ printers cost much more than paper ballot opscan systems. The costs for adding cash-register receipts to current DRE voting systems exceeds the costs of replacing DRE voting systems with opti-scan paper ballot voting systems within 4 years.
  2. Do not provide accessibility for as many disabled voters as ballot marking devices like the AutoMARK,
  3. Do not provide the ability to verify the accuracy of paper ballot records for disabled voters
  4. Create longer lines
  5. Violate all voters’ privacy by storing ballot records in sequential order, the same order as voters enter each polling booth. It particularly violates the privacy of voters with disabilities who must all vote on the same DRE machine outfitted for voters with disabilities and have all their ballots stored on the same DRE paper roll.
  6. Subject voters to Denial of Service attacks
  7. Make elections vulnerable to touch-screen calibration and touch-screen delay problems which switch votes to the wrong candidates
  8. Can be used by hackers to subvert election audits
  9. Make elections vulnerable to electronic failures, power outages, and hacking
  10. Have been shown in every independent audit so far to inaccurately record votes
  11. Paper-roll ballot records fail to accurately record votes according to recent tests in New Jersey, “Tests Find Flaws in Printer Performance, Could Jeopardize Election Accuracy”. “If a mechanical error or malfunction occurs (such as a paper jam, running out of paper, paper torn in half, or paper inserted improperly), the DRE displays an error message on the screen to the voter, but no warning signals are sent to notify the election officials at the polling place. The DRE does not suspend voting operations. The voter has the opportunity to continue voting and cast the vote but the paper record is not printed. The vote is, however, electronically recorded…. “print-and-disappear-from-view” feature. E-voting systems can print erroneous paper records to match erroneous electronic records, despite every effort of voters to ensure that it does not. Here is how it works in practice on New Jersey: When you are just about ready to cast your vote after marking your choices on the electronic voting machine, the system prints a voter-verifiable paper record — so that you can review it, and affirm that your choices were accurately recorded. If you felt it was incorrect, you can “cancel” that record and go back to any of the contests on the ballot using the electronic machine, and re-select. Ready again to cast your ballot? Checking the paper record, you see it still doesn’t reflect what you want. You cancel a second time. Now you’re on your last try, so you mark your choices carefully. You’re ready to cast, but the voter-verified paper record prints — and then quickly drops into the locked receptacle, too quickly for you to have the opportunity to review it.” https://www.verifiedvotingfoundation.org/article.php?id=6488
  12. Are susceptible to malicious undetectable subversion of elections in ways even audits cannot detect, and 12. inaccurately record votes as shown in every independent election audit so far Just why do our election officials want us to pay for a computer for doing what takes able-bodied voters 10 minutes perhaps once/year. Not requiring paper ballots because some voters have disabilities that prevent them from seeing and verifying paper ballots, would be like banning fire hydrants because fire hydrants are not accessible for persons with disabilities. We need YOU to ACT NOW to ask that there are 2008 deadlines for replacing paperless DRE voting machines and for requiring independent manual audits.

Talking Points

Elections must:

  • Be publicly verifiably accurate, and
  • Allow all legally registered voters a convenient opportunity to vote

We need election reform that requires:

  1. Pre-printed paper ballots and paper sign-in systems for all voters at polling locations in case of electronic failures
  2. Independent manual counts of voter-verified paper ballots sufficiently to ensure correct machine counts of election outcomes
  3. Public scrutiny of ballot security procedures
  4. Public access to election records necessary to verify the integrity of independent manual counts

It is JULY 2007. The November 2008 election is 16 months away. It takes from 6 months to one year to replace voting systems. Almost every jurisdiction already uses opti-scan paper ballots for mail-in absentee ballot and overseas voting, so training requirements would be minimal. (1) there is enough time and (2) there is enough equipment.

Take These Actions NOW

1. Submit your public testimony to Senator Feinstein for the Wednesday, July 25 Rules and Administration Committee Hearing on S 1487 – MUST be received by Tuesday 5PM and it will be included in official record –

fax Sue Wright 202 224 5400 or send email to: sue_wright@rules.senate.gov

stating before your comments this is for the record and including your name, organization, address, and other pertinent contact information, and that it should be submitted by 5 p.m. Eastern time Tuesday.

Indicate that you are providing testimony or comments for submission into the record of S1487 hearings.

Please include this list of recommendations for amendments to S1487. These are ordered from the most widely supported election reform measures beginning on page one. So simply print and fax as many pages as you agree with, to the Rules Committee Members and to your own Senators: http://electionmathematics.org/em-legislation/S1487Amendments.pdf

and these arguments against some of S1487’s current provisions: http://electionmathematics.org/em-legislation/BallotIntegrityActAnalysis.pdf

2. Contact Senator Feinstein’s office now regarding the shortage of credible participants with the appropriate expertise in math and computers science testifying in the hearing panels. Senator Feinstein’s number is (202) 224-3841.


3. Attend the Hearing to receive testimony on S. 1487, the Ballot Integrity Act (Sen. Feinstein) if you can make it to Washington DC, 10 am EDT on Wednesday, July 25th 2007. Travel to Washington DC to speak with your
Senators and with the Senators on the Rules Committee.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007 at 10:00 a.m. Hearing to receive testimony on S. 1487, the Ballot Integrity Act of 2007



“….Hearings are held in Room 301, Russell Senate Office Building (unless otherwise noted), 1st Street and Constitution Avenues, North East, Washington, DC 20510. Seating is available on a first come, first serve basis. Eastern Time Zone listed. Times and location are subject to change.

Map of Russell Senate Office Building surrounding area http://rules.senate.gov/exit.php?eurl=http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&q=1st+St+NE+%26+Constitution+Ave+NE,+Washington,+DC+20002&t=h&ll=38.891985,-t+St+NE+77.005899&spn=0.011958,0.027122&t=h


4. View Wednesday’s Hearing Live “TODAY’S http://rules.senate.gov/hearings/live.ram hearing. (available on July 25th at approximately 9:50 a.m. ET) ….”

If you want any shield against election fraud that could put the wrong persons in control of Congress and in the President’s office in 2009, now is the time to call your US Representative to support HR811 with 2008 deadlines for replacing all paperless DREs and conducting independent checks of election results;

5. Contact your Senators, the Bill Sponsors, and the Senate Rules committee members and tell them what you want or tell them that you want these amendments to S1487:


Ask your US Senators now to require 2008 deadlines for replacing paperless DREs and implementing independent valid manual election audits are preserved in HR811 and that S1487 is amended to match HR811.

Call one of these free numbers and urge both your Senators to support meaningful election reform: 1 (800) 828 – 0498 or (800) 614-2803 or (866) 338-1015 or (877) 851-6437 for the Capitol Switchboard Operator Ask for your senator, for ex., Senator Hillary Clinton or Barak Obama, or Diane Feinstein, etc. Ask to speak to or leave a message for your Senators’ legislative staffers who handle election reform legislation issues; and please mail, email, or fax copies of “21 Suggested Amendments” to their legislative staffers who handle election reform legislation, hopefully after speaking with them. Tell the office staff that you are a constituent of the Congressperson – give them your name, address and phone number – then urge them to work for meaningful election reform in 2008.

If you are not sure who your senators are, go to http://senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm

If you want to citizen control over U.S. elections and have honest, accurate elections – ACT NOW. If you do not act soon, it could be too late for the 2008 federal election, and perhaps for restoring our democracy and control of Congress in 2009 could revert to those who want to preserve paperless un-audited elections where insiders have utter freedom to undetectably tamper in the most states.

Please make this small effort to preserve our US democracy.

Thank you for this small effort on your part. They need to hear from all of us. Please call and write today, then send this email to all the people you know who care about democracy. Thanks again.

Whom to Contact

Contact the Co-sponsors

Contact the Senate Rules Committee Members

Committee members can make the recommended amendments while the S1487 is
being considered in committee

More Information

Debbie Boen
Debbie Boen
Debbie and her family moved to Clarksville slightly after the tornado of 1999. Debbie founded the group, Clarksville Freethinkers for Peace and Civil Liberties, in 2004. She participated in Gathering to Save Our Democracy, a group dedicated to obtaining free and verifiable elections in Tennessee. She has supported groups including the NAACP, Nashville Peace Coalition, PFLAG, Friends of Dunbar Cave and the Mountain Top Removal Series of Films and speakers. She participated as an artist in the ARTZ gallery group in Clarksville and won Best of Show, First and 2 Second Place awards for four of her sculptures. She won a voter's choice award for a performance at the Roxy Regional Theatre. She is a wife, mother and cancer survivor. She is always amazed at the capabilities of the human spirit, and the wisdom to find humor when there is none.


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