Re: Rebuttal to Dill's support for HR811 on oped

From: charlie strauss <cems_at_earthlink_dot_net>
Date: Fri Apr 27 2007 - 11:13:20 CDT

For me, support for HR811 comes down to tactics. Admittedly, the bill is atrocious in some aspects. But three years ago we'd have been thrilled with it. And, if you'll pardon the nerdly analogy, the Empire is preparing to strike back. There is growing opposition to our grassroots mission. Tactically it would be good to lock in some gains into law.

Moreover, I don't think there is a true consensus on what the right bill is. This forum in particular, OVC, is indeed a potential flash point for that disagreement, since many folks would want to have laws that would force pure hand marked ballots that might be incompatible with the OVC system concept. OVC is itself a brilliant recognition that there are aspects of technology that expedite elections and their are aspects that threaten them. Nearly all day-to-day election problems are of the mundane sort where expedition would be beneficial. Yet we have to steer around the yawning chasms of threats to voter secrecy, lack of auditbility, lock-in and unnessacary trust of vendors, etc... OVC is among the best threading of these problems while retaining benefits of automation.

Still many people make strong arguments that hand marked paper is sufficient. Do we really want this decided by the feds?

Perhaps a better statement would be that, if you had to buy a system today, this second, from the available choices on the market. Hand marked paper looks like a wise choice. But That does not mean it always has to be that way.

Just to demonstrate another form of disagreement. I believe that the manner of elections should be left to the states and the problem with HR811 is not its lack of teeth but in fact it's over specification of things. Adding more nitty details about how to run elections is not what I'd like to see in a replacement bill. States should be self interested in their election integrity so it's not patently obvious that federal intervention at a micro management level is needed. I sense however that people disagree since the established powers in most states have put up a great stone wall that is only now starting to crumble. In NM we feel like things are far from perfect but Gov Richardson put them on the right track with a sound footing. Up until then we had little traction, and might have liked to see some federal intervention. But in hindsight I now believe that State regulation is better than federal intervention.

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Received on Mon Apr 30 23:17:15 2007

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