New Holt Bill (was Fwd: [uscv-election] Vote "YES" for Federal Election Reform)

From: Edward Cherlin <echerlin_at_gmail_dot_com>
Date: Sat Mar 28 2009 - 00:57:11 CDT

What do we think of this new version of the Holt bill?

"Voter Confidence & Increased Accessibility Act of 2009"

The text of a draft is at

I have read through it quickly, and I see both good and not-so-good in it.

The requirement of a voter-verified paper ballot is to the good.

The bill requires ballot-marking machines by 2016, but the voter will
continue to have the choice of marking a ballot by hand. This imposes
significant costs for a useless "feature".

The bill as drafted does _NOT_ always require manual counting, but
permits optical scan as an alternative. I haven't figured out when.

Mandatory hand counting is not an effective audit procedure, in the
sense of looking for discrepancies between records. I will be
interested to see whether NIST can certify better procedures against
stiff political opposition. Like the way the FDA said, "Sure, no
problem certifying the safety of re-importing US drugs from

Given the actions of the Coleman campaign in MN, I think the private
right of action will turn into a dumpster of worms.

The conflict of interest provisions try to deal with the inherent
conflict for testing companies dependent on keeping the good will of
manufacturers by passing their products, by having the Commission
select testing laboratories. That would be an improvement, but I can't
tell whether it is good enough.

Ah, legalese: blank pre-printed paper ballot

NIST has to certify that statistical audit methods will give the right
answer 95% of the time. That should be at least 99%. It's not that
much more work. Certainly not for computers.

Anyway, no deal-breakers yet, but I'll be watching Private Right of Action.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Kathy Dopp <>
Date: Fri, Mar 27, 2009 at 9:49 PM
Subject: [uscv-election] Vote "YES" for Federal Election Reform
To: uscv-election <>

Vote "YES" for Federal Election Reform

The Voter Confidence and Increased Accessibility Act of 2009 would be
a sea change for the better for US elections because it would increase
public control over elections,  provide new voting rights,  increase
election transparency and verifiability, and require hand-counting of
more paper ballots in Federal election contests than in decades.

Please Vote "YES" to the "Holt" bill here so that PDA will officially
endorse federal election reform:


 *  Requires voter-marked paper ballots

        -Replaces all paperless voting systems by 2010 with paper ballot
voting systems

        -Requires voter-marked paper ballots shall be available at all
polling locations by 2010

        -Requires voter-marked paper ballot voting systems by 2016

*  Gives individuals a private right of legal action to file
complaints about violations

* Requires manually counting the ballots in 3, 5, or 10% of all
precincts in post-election audits, allowing and giving incentives for
using a more scientific alternative mechanism for conducting
post-election audits that are approved by the National Institute of
Standards and Technology (NIST)

        -Requires the entity conducting the audit to meet the GAO
independence standard

* Unlike today’s DRE voting machines, the Voter Confidence bill
requires ballot secrecy

* Makes Paper ballots the official ballot and the true and correct
record of votes cast and says that in the event of damaged paper
ballots the electronic tally may not be the sole basis

* Requires recounts of Federal elections to count ballots by hand

* Includes absent uniformed services voters and overseas voters in all

* Requires accessible paper ballot verification for voters with disabilities

* Requires public disclosure of the Voluntary Voting System Guidelines
(VVSG) test protocols, all communications with the vendors, and to the
Election Assistance Commission (EAC) and the results of the testing

* Requires public disclosure of voting system technology (w/ a NDA) to
“government entities with responsibility for the administration of
voting and election-related matters”, “a party to pre- or
post-election litigation challenging the result of an election or the
administration or the use of the technology…”, “a person who reviews,
analyzes, or reports on the technology solely for an academic,
scientific, technological, or other investigation or inquiry
concerning the accuracy or integrity of the technology.”

* Requires that any technology developed under its grants are
non-proprietary public property, including

       - a study overseen by the National Science Foundation (NSF) of
accessible ballot verification for voters whose primary language is
not English and for voters with disabilities

       - research for development of “election-dedicated voting system

* Decentralizes Power Over Elections, Giving it to Local Jurisdictions by:

       - Prohibits the use of election-dedicated voting systems not
certified by the State

       - Requires States to reimburse local jurisdictions for costs for
conforming to the requirements (Thus removing the ability of States to
force all jurisdictions to purchase the same voting system)

* Prohibits wireless communications devices in voting systems

* Prohibits Internet voting

* Requires public disclosure of secure chain of custody for ballots and machines

* Prohibits conflicts of interest of Federal testing labs &
establishes a process for voting system testing to meet Federal
Voluntary Voting System Guidelines (VVSGs)

* Requires the EAC to promptly notify Congress, State election
officials, and the public when a testing laboratory accreditation is
revoked, suspended or restored or experiences a security failure

* Funds the replacement of voting systems in non-conforming precincts


For exact quotes from the bill and a link to the bill see:

Please do not be misled by the misinformation being told by the forces
that oppose federal election reform.  The balance of the US Congress
depends on having fair, accurate elections in all States.

Support transparency and verifiable accuracy of US elections by
supporting the Voter Confidence & Increased Accessibility Act would
ensure that voters accurately determine who takes Federal office.

As soon as Rep. Holt's Voter Confidence ... Act has a bill number and
is released to committee, I will let you know how to support it and
how to urge for amendments that would improve upon it.

Kathy Dopp
The material expressed herein is the informed  product of the author's
fact-finding and investigative efforts. Dopp is a Mathematician,
Expert in election audit mathematics and procedures; in exit poll
discrepancy analysis; and can be reached at
P.O. Box 680192
Park City, UT 84068
phone 435-658-4657
Post-Election Vote Count Audit
A Short Legislative & Administrative Proposal
History of Confidence Election Auditing Development & Overview of
Election Auditing Fundamentals
Voters Have Reason to Worry
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Received on Tue Mar 31 23:17:04 2009

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