Re: HR 811 text?

From: Ron Crane <voting_at_lastland_dot_net>
Date: Tue Feb 06 2007 - 20:23:28 CST
The audits are insufficient, give officials far too much discretion, and are anything but transparent. I have very little hope of remedying those defects, but there are some major legal defects that we should try to remedy. First, sec.2(a)(2)(B)(iii) says:
In the event of any inconsistencies or irregularities between any electronic vote tallies and the vote tallies determined by counting by hand the individual permanent paper ballots produced pursuant to subparagraph (A), and subject to subparagraph (D), the individual permanent paper ballots shall be the true and correct record of the votes cast and shall be used as the official ballots for purposes of any recount or audit conducted with respect to any election for Federal office in which the voting system is used.
The problem here is that "true and correct record of the votes cast" is qualified by the remainder of the clause in which it occurs. That is, the paper ballots are the "true and correct record" for purposes of the audit and "any recount" -- but not for purposes of determining the winner of the election!

Sec.5(audits) makes this very clear. It says that states must publish a reconciliation of the "unofficial vote count" and the audit, and that they can't certify an election until publishing that reconciliation. What it doesn't say is that states must use the hand counts computed by the audit as the true vote counts.

Further, sec.5(sec.327) exempts from the "mandatory" audit requirement (and thus from sec.2(a)(2)(B)(iii)'s "any recount" requirement) all state-law automatic recounts that are triggered by winning margins (e.g., < 0.5%). Many (probably all) states have these provisions, and, of those, probably all of them permit or require the automatic recounts to be conducted by machine. The upshot? When the margin of victory is smallest, and your need to locate fraud is, consequently, the greatest, this bill throws away the paper and lets the state certify the machine recount.

-R

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Received on Wed Feb 28 23:17:07 2007

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