HR 811 (The Holt Bill) and The Commission: Alien invaders in our democracy

From: Nancy Tobi <ntobi_at_democracyfornewhampshire_dot_com>
Date: Thu Jun 21 2007 - 16:36:37 CDT

Sure to piss off someone....
HR 811 (The Holt Bill) and The Commission: Alien invaders in our
democracy SOURCE:

June 21, 2007, By Nancy Tobi

*Centralizing the power to control votes and determine who holds the reins
to our country is more a form of national socialism than democracy.*

*If you find this language inflammatory, well, you should.*

When the Help America Vote Act was passed in 2002, an alien creature was
introduced into our historical structure of governing through checks and
balances and dispersed power.
This growing little monster, the Election Assistance Commission (The
Commission), consists of four white house appointees, beholden to and
reporting to the Executive Branch. The Commission -- with its centralized
powers -- is alien to our democratic and representative form of governance;
it is a complete betrayal of the founders' vision for dispersed power, as
held by the States and the American people, specifically with respect to our
voting systems.

The Holt Bill (HR 811) further strengthens and empowers this alien
Commission in our governmental structure.

I am concerned with defending my state and its beautiful, long time
traditions and culture of grassroots democracy, and my nation's dreams and
ideals for democracy and freedom.

This dream depends on our ability to choose the people we want to lead us,
and to ensure -- through free and open democratic elections -- that, in
fact, it is the people's choice who are the given the power to do so. This
is the beauty of the vision of our revolutionary founders, who understood
the necessity of dispersed power to check and balance the human inclinations
that may arise when people are handed control over the destiny of others.

*The Commission, four white house appointees, controls the way America votes
and how our votes will be counted. *

It does this through a benign and bureaucratic sounding program called the
"Voluntary Voting System Guidelines" program. Called "voluntary", because
the Constitution does not allow the Executive Branch to mandate the manner
in which States administer elections, in reality, The Program is not
voluntary at all.

*The Commission's Program is not voluntary because it is the means by which
The Commission designs the technology and the implementation of all voting
systems, computer-based or paper ballot-based, used in the United States of
America. Its standards will be the basis for which a limitless number of
lawsuits can be brought under a private right of action, lawsuits that can
destabilize our nation by throwing elections to the courts and out of the
hands of we the people.*

Wielding a 2-3 inch binder of software and procedural specifications,
requirements, and recommendations, The Commission dictates which
technology-based voting equipment will be produced for American voting
jurisdictions, as well as the design and procedures for using paper ballot
voting systems.

*And HR 811, the Holt Bill, enhances, broadens, and indefinitely funds The

The American people need to think very carefully about the implications of
continuing to empower and fund indefinitely The Commission.

The cavalier manner in which many people dismiss the implications of the
white house designing our voting machines and controlling paper ballot
voting systems* -- virtually controlling how every vote in the nation is not
only cast but is counted -- *is quite dangerous.

*Perhaps it is hard for us to envision this alien invasion into our
cherished form of democratic governance in the United States of America.
Perhaps it is just too much for us to assimilate into our notions of
American dreams and ideologies.*

Perhaps this was the case for our fellow freedom loving people in Europe in
the 1920's and 30's too.

Were people then afraid to use inflammatory language? Afraid to speak about
the implications of what their governments were doing, even as they saw
those things being carried out in a very systematic and methodical manner?

What did those observers who studied it do, these citizens who sat in nice,
clean bureaucratic meetings where IBM vendors worked out the details of
their governmental contract for a citizen identification and tracking
program, which would enable the government to easily find citizens of
various characteristics and ethnicities when deemed necessary?

Were there public observers at the bureaucrats' meetings where the gas ovens
were designed, (which kind of vent should we use, what motor power do we
need to push the gas through the vents)?

What did these freedom loving citizens do as they observed the meetings, as
they began to process the information, to understand what their eyes saw,
what their hearts understood?

*Were they afraid to tell people, were they afraid to use inflammatory

Well, I have sat in our American bureaucrats' meetings, and while they are
not designing gas ovens, I have watched them design the death of our

I have felt the physical impact like a sucker punch to the stomach, the
impact of being a freedom loving citizen witnessing these proceedings, as I
began to comprehend with clarity and finality what REALLY is going on.

The power of the people's vote, the free, fair, democratic vote, being
neutralized and subverted before my very eyes.

Nazi Germany: Law after law enacted to carefully put into place and
facilitate the vision of the very legal national socialist government. That
national socialist government, which our freedom loving country ultimately
rose up to fight against.

*Who will save America if we allow ourselves to fall down?*


In today's version of the bill, not only is trade secrecy federalized into
law, but the bill forces public servants to sign nondisclosure agreements
with corporate vendors, effectively placing gag orders on the very election
officials entrusted with our publicly held elections and sealing secret vote
counting for the United States of America as federal law!

And who controls this secret vote counting?

The Commission.

*The current version of the bill removes the explicit header to extend
authorization of The Commission, but nonetheless does in fact broadens its
powers and indefinitely extend its authorization and appropriations to
support these four white house appointees who control our voting systems.*

The Commission is provided various authorizations and is referenced no less
than 29 times in this 28 page bill. Towards the end of the bill: "(e)
AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS.—There are authorized to be appropriated to
the Commission for fiscal year 2008 and *each succeeding fiscal year
for payments under this section." *This is an indefinite appropriation to
keep the beast alive.*

One of the broadened powers the bill extends to The Commission is to make it
the "decider" of how precincts will be "randomly" selected for the so-called
audits. ("the Election Auditor of the State shall administer the hand counts
under this subtitle shall be made by the Election Auditor on an entirely
random basis using a uniform distribution in which all precincts in a
Congressional district have an equal chance of being selected, *in
accordance with procedures adopted by the Commission*").

Another of the broadened powers the bill extends to our four white house
appointees is to be the "decider" of which "expert" can observe voting
system testing procedures. ("the laboratory certifies that it will permit *an
expert designated by the Commission *to observe any testing the laboratory
carries out under this section."

The Commission's definition of voting system is accepted as the
authoritative definition.

The Commission's standards for voting systems are etched as THE MANDATED
STANDARDS for all of the nation's voting systems.

In short, while the authors of HR 811 have removed any clear and explicit
provision to extend the Commission, they reference the Commission no less
than 29 times in the 28 page bill, granting it ever expanding powers in

*HR811 references to The Commission are listed below.*

   VERIFICATION MECHANISMS. *The Director of NIST (another
   nonrepresentational executively reporting agency) and the Commission will
   determine what voting systems research is funded to the tune of $3 MIL
   VOLUNTARY VOTING SYSTEM GUIDANCE- In adopting any voluntary guidance under
   subtitle B of title III of the Help America Vote Act with respect to the
   accessibility of the paper ballot verification requirements for individuals
   with disabilities, the Election Assistance Commission shall include and
   apply the same accessibility standards applicable under the voluntary
   guidance adopted for accessible voting systems under such subtitle. *The
   Commission's own defined accessibility standards are to be the norm for all
   voting systems in the nation. *
   DEFINED- For purposes of this paragraph, 'election-dedicated voting system
   technology' means 'voting system software' as defined under the 2005
   voluntary voting system guidelines adopted by the Commission under section
   222, but excludes 'commercial-off-the-shelf' software and hardware defined
   under those guidelines. *The Commission is the official arbitor of
   defining "what is voting software:" - with COTS excluded - for all legal
   4. p. 9 of 28: '(i) The manufacturer and the election officials shall
   document the secure chain of custody for the handling of all software,
   hardware, vote storage media, ballots, and voter-verified ballots used in
   connection with voting systems, and shall make the information available
   upon request to the Commission. *The Commission is the custodian of
   information relating to chain of custody for voting equipment.*
   5. p. 10 of 28: '(iv) At the request of the Commission-- '(I) the
   appropriate election official shall submit information to the Commission
   regarding the State's compliance with this subparagraph; and '(II) the
   manufacturer shall submit information to the Commission regarding the
   manufacturer's compliance with this subparagraph. *The Commission is
   the custodian of information relating to State and manufacturer chain of
   custody for voting equipment and software.*
   DOCUMENTATION OF SECURE CHAIN OF CUSTODY- Not later than August 1, 2008, the
   Commission shall develop and make publicly available best practices
   regarding the requirement of subparagraph (B)(i). *The Commission is
   the arbiter of defining best practices concerning chain of custody for
   voting equipment and software.*
   Commission shall make information provided to the Commission under
   subparagraph (B)(i) available to any person upon request. *The
   Commission is the information distributor regarding State chain of custody
   8. p. 12 of 28: '(A) IN GENERAL- A laboratory may not be accredited by
   the Commission for purposes of this section unless-- *The Commission
   has sole authority for accrediting voting equipment testing labs.*
   9. p. 12 of 28: '(ii) the laboratory meets such standards as the
   Commission shall establish (after notice and opportunity for public comment)
   to prevent the existence or appearance of any conflict of interest in the
   testing carried out by the laboratory under this section...* The
   Commission establishes testing lab standards relating to conflicts of
   10. p. 12 of 28: '(iii) the laboratory certifies that it will permit
   an expert designated by the Commission to observe any testing the laboratory
   carries out under this section; *The Commission designates the
   "expert" permitted to observe voting equipment testing*
   11. p. 12 of 28: '(iv) the laboratory, upon completion of any testing
   carried out under this section, discloses the test protocols, results, and
   all communication between the laboratory and the manufacturer to the
   Commission. *The Commission is the recipient of all information
   relating to the testing of voting equipment.*
   12. p. 12 of 28: the Commission shall make the information available
   promptly to election officials and the public.*The Commission is the
   public's conduit of information from voting equipment testing labs.*
   13. p. 12 of 28: '(A) ESTABLISHMENT OF ESCROW ACCOUNT- The Commission
   shall establish an escrow account (to be known as the 'Testing Escrow
   Account') for making payments to accredited laboratories for the costs of
   the testing carried out in connection with the certification,
   decertification, and recertification of voting system hardware and software.
   *The Commission is, for the first time ever, granted authority to
   establish escrow accounts and enact payments to voting equipment test labs.
   14. p. 13 of 28: '(B) SCHEDULE OF FEES- In consultation with the
   accredited laboratories, the Commission shall establish and regularly update
   a schedule of fees for the testing carried out in connection with the
   certification, decertification, and recertification of voting system
   hardware and software, based on the reasonable costs expected to be incurred
   by the accredited laboratories in carrying out the testing for various types
   of hardware and software.* The Commission has authority to establish
   fee schedule for the testing of voting equipment.*
   manufacturer of voting system hardware and software may not have the
   hardware or software tested by an accredited laboratory under this section
   unless-- '(i) the manufacturer submits a detailed request for the testing to
   the Commission; and '(ii) the manufacturer pays to the Commission, for
   deposit into the Testing Escrow Account established under subparagraph (A),
   the applicable fee under the schedule established and in effect under
   subparagraph (B). *The Commission controls payment of fees to voting
   equipment test labs.*
   16. p. 13 of 28: '(D) SELECTION OF LABORATORY- Upon receiving a
   request for testing and the payment from a manufacturer required under
   subparagraph (C), the Commission shall select at random (to the greatest
   extent practicable), from all laboratories which are accredited under this
   section to carry out the specific testing requested by the manufacturer, an
   accredited laboratory to carry out the testing. *The Commission
   determines which test lab tests which voting equipment.*
   Upon completion of the testing of a voting system under this section, the
   Commission shall promptly disseminate to the public the identification of
   the laboratory which carried out the testing. *The Commission is the
   public's conduit of information regarding test lab identification.*
   Commission shall promptly notify Congress, the chief State election official
   of each State, and the public whenever-- '(i) the Commission revokes,
   terminates, or suspends the accreditation of a laboratory under this
   section; '(ii) the Commission restores the accreditation of a laboratory
   under this section which has been revoked, terminated, or suspended; or
   '(iii) the Commission has credible evidence of significant security failure
   at an accredited laboratory.'. *The Commission is the conduit for the
   public and Congress to information regarding any issues with test lab
   security failures and changes in certification status.*
   ACCOUNT, AND SCHEDULE OF FEES- The Election Assistance Commission shall
   establish the standards described in section 231(b)(3) of the Help America
   Vote Act of 2002 and the Testing Escrow Account and schedule of fees
   described in section 231(b)(4) of such Act (as added by subparagraph (A))
   not later than January 1, 2008. *The Commission has authority to
   establish standards for certifying and paying voting equipment test labs.
   20. p. 14 of 28: (D) AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS- There are
   authorized to be appropriated to the Election Assistance Commission such
   sums as may be necessary to carry out the Commission's duties under
   paragraphs (3) and (4) of section 231 of the Help America Vote Act of 2002
   (as added by subparagraph (A)) *The Commission is appropriated
   discretionary funds, which might be used to make payments to voting
   equipment test labs.*
   BALLOTS- (A) IN GENERAL- If any of the voting systems used in a State for
   the regularly scheduled 2006 general elections for Federal office did not
   require the use of or produce durable paper ballots, the State shall certify
   to the Election Assistance Commission not later than 90 days after the date
   of the enactment of this Act that the State will be in compliance with the
   requirements of sections 301(a)(2), 301(a)(12), and 301(b) of the Help
   America Vote of 2002, as added or amended by this subsection, in accordance
   with the deadline established under this Act, and shall include in the
   certification the methods by which the State will meet the requirements.
   * The Commission is the authority to which the States must report to
   demonstrate compliance with the laws described by HR 811 and HAVA.*
   22. p. 17 of 28: '(f) Special Rule for Fiscal Year 2007- '(1) IN
   GENERAL- Notwithstanding any other provision of this part, a State is
   eligible to receive a requirements payment for fiscal year 2007 if, not
   later than 90 days after the date of the enactment of the Voter Confidence
   and Increased Accessibility Act of 2007, the chief executive officer of the
   State, or designee, in consultation and coordination with the chief State
   election official-- '(A) certifies to the Commission the number of
   noncompliant and partially noncompliant precincts in the State (as defined
   in section 252(b)(2)); and '(B) files a statement with the Commission
   describing the State's need for the payment and how the State will use the
   payment to meet the requirements of title III (in accordance with the
   limitations applicable to the use of the payment under section 57(a)(4)).
   *The Commission is the authority to which the States must report in
   order to receive payment for equipment replacement required by Section 2 of
   HR 811.*
   23. p. 23 of 28: 'SEC. 324. SELECTION OF PRECINCTS. '(a) In General-
   Except as provided in subsection (c), the selection of the precincts in the
   State in which the Election Auditor of the State shall administer the hand
   counts under this subtitle shall be made by the Election Auditor on an
   entirely random basis using a uniform distribution in which all precincts in
   a Congressional district have an equal chance of being selected, in
   accordance with procedures adopted by the Commission, except that at least
   one precinct shall be selected at random in each county. *The
   Commission will establish procedures wherein States will select precincts
   for conducting audits.*
   24. p. 23 of 28: 'SEC. 325. PUBLICATION OF RESULTS. '(a) Submission to
   Commission- As soon as practicable after the completion of an audit under
   this subtitle, the Election Auditor of a State shall submit to the
   Commission the results of the audit, and shall include in the submission a
   comparison of the results of the election in the precinct as determined by
   the Election Auditor under the audit and the final unofficial vote count in
   the precinct as announced by the State and all undervotes, overvotes, blank
   ballots, and spoiled, voided or cancelled ballots, as well as a list of any
   discrepancies discovered between the initial, subsequent, and final hand
   counts administered by the Election Auditor and such final unofficial vote
   count and any explanation for such discrepancies, broken down by the
   categories of votes described in paragraphs (2) and (3) of section 323(a).
   *The Commission is inserted into the process of States certifying
   their election results. The Commission is the authority to whom States must
   report audit results. Before certifying their election results, States must
   submit to the Commission detailed reports consisting of 14 data points as
   applied to at least four different categories of votes cast.*
   25. p. 24 of 28: '(b) Publication by Commission- Immediately after
   receiving the submission of the results of an audit from the Election
   Auditor of a State under subsection (a), the Commission shall publicly
   announce and publish the information contained in the submission. *The
   Commission is the conduit to the public of information relating to state
   26. p. 24 of 28: '(c) Delay in Certification of Results by State- '(1)
   the results of any election which is subject to an audit under this subtitle
   prior to-- '(A) to the completion of the audit (and, if required, any
   additional audit conducted under section 323(d)(1)) and the announcement and
   submission of the results of each such audit to the Commission for
   publication of the information required under this section; and '(B) the
   completion of any procedure established by the State pursuant to section
   323(d)(2) to resolve discrepancies and ensure the accuracy of results.
   * The Commission is inserted into the State procedures for certifying
   election results. No state can certify election results before meeting the
   Commission's requirements for reporting on HR811 mandated election audits.
   PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS- In the case of an election for electors for
   President and Vice President which is subject to an audit under this
   subtitle, the State shall complete the audits and announce and submit the
   results to the Commission for publication of the information required under
   this section in time for the State to certify the results of the election
   and provide for the final determination of any controversy or contest
   concerning the appointment of such electors prior to the deadline described
   in section 6 of title 3, United States Code.* The Commission is
   inserted into the State procedures for certifying election results for
   President and Vice President. States must complete Commission required
   reports, no matter how onerous or time consuming, before certifying electors
   for President and Vice President.*
   28. p. 24 of 28: '(a) Payments For Costs of Conducting Audits- In
   accordance with the requirements and procedures of this section, the
   Commission shall make a payment to a State to cover the costs incurred by
   the State in carrying out this subtitle with respect to the elections that
   are the subject of the audits conducted under this subtitle.* The
   Commission is the financial authority for appropriating payments to States
   to cover the cost of audits.*
   29. p. 25 of 28: '(e) Authorization of Appropriations- There are
   authorized to be appropriated to the Commission for fiscal year 2008 and
   each succeeding fiscal year $100,000,000 for payments under this section.
   *The Commission is funded indefinitely with a budget more than six
   times its current levels, some of which to be used as payments to the States
   to cover the costs of conducting HR811 mandated audits.*

Nancy Tobi
Co-Founder, Democracy For New Hampshire
Chair, Fair Elections Committee
Legislative Coordinator, Election Defense Alliance

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