Proposed Letter To Congress

From: Ginny Ross <ginnypdx_at_comcast_dot_net>
Date: Tue Dec 12 2006 - 11:38:09 CST

Greetings, Ginny, the lurker, here -- writing in to share this open
letter project from VU with the OVC. I think it could show the first
unified step in our movement for everyone to simply stand and insist on
paper ballots as the first, and bare minimum step, the Congress must
take, and take now. I can't see a thing in this letter that factions
of our movement disagree on, and a powerful unified response might (at
last?) show our size and momentum.

Alan or Arthur, maybe one of you could write to John today if OVC
decides to sign on? Thanks,


 From John Gideon
Opportunity to sign PBOR letter as a group
(and individually if you want to send it to your Rep. --- J. Gideon must
know answer before 5pm today PST)

The below letter will be sent to members of congress. There will be a
web page set-up where citizens can send the letter to their
representatives in the House and Senate. There will be a media release
on Wednesday that will announce the drive. Any non-partisan Election
Integrity organization interested in signing this letter is encouraged
to let me know. We need to know how your group wants their name to be
listed by 8PM Eastern (5PM Pac) tomorrow, Dec. 12.

December 13, 2006
*Open Letter to all Members of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives:
We, the undersigned non-partisan election integrity organizations,
strongly urge you, as a first order of business in the 110th Congress,
to enact new federal legislation to protect the integrity of our
elections. While there are many areas of concern for any such
legislation, none is more essential to the accuracy of our elections and
the confidence among our electorate than for there to be a paper
/ballot/ for every vote cast. Not a paper "trail" or a paper "record,"
but a paper */ballot/*.
In light of lessons learned during the 2006 primary and general
elections -- with myriad contests resulting in uncertainty and thousands
of voters in state after state turned away from the polls unable to cast
a vote on DRE systems which failed throughout the day -- we now hold
that a paper /ballot/, whether counted by optical-scan system or hand,/
/is the minimum requirement for any Election Reform legislation in which
voters may have confidence. Such a requirement is needed to help ensure
Americans that every legally registered voter can vote, that every vote
is recorded precisely as the voter intends, and that every vote is
counted and, if necessary, re-counted accurately.
This year's elections have made crystal clear that electronic voting
machines -- both those /without/ paper ballots, such as Direct Recording
Electronic (DRE) touch-screen systems, and even those with so-called
"Voter Verified Paper Audit Trails" -- caused massive disruptions,
undermined the results of crucial elections, and forced thousands of
voters to leave the polls without being able to exercise their franchise.
Paper *trails* and paper *records* are not sufficient to safeguard
elections and restore confidence among the electorate. Unless there is a
paper *ballot* for every vote cast, three fundamental principles of
democratic elections are violated:
1) *Observable tallies.* It is impossible for citizens
to observe the counting of electronic ballots and audit the results.
2) *Equal access.* Requiring voters to cast votes on
computers discriminates against those who are not familiar with the
3) *Accurate results.* It is impossible to ensure that
the reported results are accurate. In fact, a voter-verifiable paper
audit *trail* cannot be depended on to provide the certainty lacking in
electronic tallies. Clear evidence from several recent elections reveals
instances in which:
The electronic screen record did not reflect the voter's intent.
The electronic count did not match the paper trail produced by
the e-voting machine.
The summary review screen did not match the paper trail
produced by the e-voting machine.
Voters did not know to verify the paper trail or were prevented
from doing so by improper design, incorrect setup, or malfunction of the
Computer systems introduced unnecessary complexity into the
entire election process and therefore increased the likelihood of errors
by voters, poll workers, and election officials.
Computerized voting relinquished control of the final outcome
to the technical skills of those who program the software.
While it is not easy to reconcile the money already spent on new DRE
systems, it would be worse to continue using election equipment that is
not accomplishing its critical task. If this were a public safety
matter, no one would question the ban on the continued use of a
dangerous product, even if it had been funded by billions of public
dollars. Why should we act any differently when it comes to protecting
the safety of our electoral process?
Ultimately, the /true /price of free, fair, reliable, accurate, and
transparent elections in America cannot be judged by dollars alone.
We therefore urge you to immediately enact legislation which requires a
*paper _ballot_* for every vote cast. Now is the moment for action, in
time to take effect for the 2008 primaries and general election.
Respectfully yours,
The Undersigned
National Voting Rights Institute

John Gideon
Executive Director <> and

<>*"We know more today about how to build a
machine to take pictures of rocks on Mars than we know about how to
build a machine to safeguard the American right to vote." *Rev. DeForest
Soaries, the first Chairman of the Election Assistance Commission


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Received on Sun Dec 31 23:17:10 2006

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