Re: Barbara Simons on Holt

From: Barbara Simons <simons_at_acm_dot_org>
Date: Wed Jul 01 2009 - 12:27:10 CDT

Hi, Alan. I have been traveling, which is why I have not responded earlier.

My initial posting was made on the private League of Women Voters Topics
list in response to a posting that someone else made of your comments.
I had not intended to debate the Holt Bill on the OVC list, especially
when I see absurd and offensive charges going unchallenged, such as that
Holt is working hand-in-hand with ES&S or the EAC.

My point, which Hamilton Richards explained perfectly, is that politics
is the art of the possible. If you want a perfect bill, you will get
nothing, which is precisely what we have been getting for the past
several years. My references to health care and climate legislation
were intended as examples of the need to make compromises in order to
achieve anything in politics. I know that many people who have been
working for years on climate change would have preferred a much cleaner
and stronger bill than the one that passed the House. But, if that is
what they had insisted on, nothing would have passed.

In the 60s during the Civil Rights Movement, the various voting rights
groups debated strongly among themselves as to what a voting rights bill
should contain and how they would get such a bill through Congress. The
final bill was not what any of the groups would have written. But when
it came time to support the bill that they could get, as opposed to
precisely the bill that they wanted, everyone got behind the
legislation. That is how they managed to get the bill passed. The
Voting Rights Act was and is not perfect, but it's far better than no
bill at all.

It is my view that the Holt Bill is far far better than no bill at all.
It seems that there are some people on this list who are holding out for
the perfect bill. I wish them and you well in your endeavors. Alan, if
you can get a perfect voting systems bill passed by Congress this year,
I shall be delighted to treat you to dinner at the best restaurant in
Los Angeles.


Alan Dechert wrote:
> Barbara Simons wrote,
>> Apparently, Alan Dechert is planning to do his own
>> rewrite of the Holt bill by eliminating sections he doesn't
>> like. He then plans to distribute his version to Congress,
>> and ask them to pass it. I find Dechert's political naivety
>> overwhelming. One can hold out for the perfect bill, and get
>> nothing - which is precisely what we have gotten for the past
>> several years. Or, one can make the necessary compromises
>> needed to get an improved, if not perfect, bill passed.
> Barbara,
> We don't need an election reform bill for the sake of having an
> election reform bill. We need a trustworthy, verifiable, transparent,
> usable, cost-effective, accessible, accurate, easy-to-use, and
> bug-free voting system. The system needs to be owned, operated, and
> maintained by The People. The system must be based on non-proprietary
> technology.
> If the bill doesn't give us that, then we don't need it. The system I
> speak of is quite attainable technically. Why settle for ES&S?
>> Using Dechert's philosophy, there is no way that any kind of
>> climate or healthy care legislation would pass Congress this year
>> or for the foreseeable future.
> This comment is idiotic and insulting. Heath care legislation and
> climate legislation will not be impacted negatively by moving to a
> public-owned voting system. On the contrary, the Holt/ES&S bill
> enshrines the concept that solutions have to come via corporate
> partnership with the federal government. Little people are powerless
> to do anything, so we have to look to our big daddies for salvation.
> Alan D.
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Received on Fri Jul 31 23:17:02 2009

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