Campaign Letter

From: Alan Dechert <alan_at_openvotingconsortium_dot_org>
Date: Sat Jan 24 2004 - 19:02:53 CST

This is a follow up to a message I wrote a week ago regarding our
campaigners' database. We need to hone our message if we're going to get
through to the people we need to reach this year.

Here is a draft of a template for a letter that we could use in our
campaign. Slightly different versions could go to office seekers,
activists, and financial contributors.

Your comments appreciated. What could be cut? What is missing? Do you
have specific wording you think would be better?


Alan D.

A little less than four years ago, the voting system in the United States
was front-page news for weeks and weeks. The public learned the painful
truth: instead of "every vote counted," the voting system was rife with
inaccuracy, mismanagement, and inequity.

It was widely acknowledged that while great advances in technology have been
made over the past 40 years, the voting system has not kept up. Will we be
able to say that the problem has been resolved for the 2004 election?

Absolutely not. A lot of money has been spent, and a lot of people have
studied the problem. However, a strong case can be made that the voting
system is actually less secure than ever, and that we are proceeding in the
wrong direction.

Scientists have, for years, warned that while purely electronic voting may
appear attractive in many ways, security concerns should rule out paperless
Direct Record Electronic (DRE) voting machines as an option. Election
officials and other decision makers - even the ones that are fairly astute
technically - have little knowledge of the types of tricks that can be
played with computers. An election result with these types of machines is
virtually impossible to audit. Recounts would become meaningless since
there is no conclusive evidence that the electronic record of a vote matches
what the voter cast.

The bipartisan Help America Vote Act of 2002 (HAVA) allocates billions of
dollars for new voting equipment. A small percentage of this money (less
than one percent) is to be spent on the development of new voting
technology. However, the R&D effort was given little attention while
jurisdictions plowed ahead purchasing the new and very expensive paperless
electronic systems. We are moving toward a voting system exactly like what
the scientists have said we should not have. If we continue on this path,
we could wind up with a system where some highly motivated and clever inside
conspiracy might be able to alter enough of the electronic votes to swing an
election, and get away without a trace.

Many scientists and engineers are working to bring this issue to the
attention of the public. What election year issue could be more important
than ensuring that the voting system works correctly? There are solutions,
but we need your support. And we need your help to make this election issue
one that the candidates have to address.

The Open Voting Consortium is drawing on the expertise of many of the top
scientists and engineers interested in the field of voting technology. We
know how we can have election results that can be fully audited with paper
ballots. And it will be far less expensive than the proprietary blackbox
systems. We are fighting entrenched interests but with your help, we can

We need ...
[insert call to action]
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Received on Mon Jan 10 00:48:14 2005

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