Fwd: [ElectionIntegrity] Taskforce on Federal Legislation

From: Arthur Keller <voting_at_kellers_dot_org>
Date: Fri Nov 17 2006 - 12:55:00 CST

>To: ovc-discuss-owner@listman.sonic.net
>From: Barbara Simons <simons@acm.org>
>Subject: Fwd: [ElectionIntegrity] Taskforce on Federal Legislation
>Date: Fri, 17 Nov 2006 10:37:56 -0800
>Sender: mailman-bounces@lists.sonic.net
>To the moderator,
>When I did a reply-to-all, I also posted to your list. While I'm
>not a member of the list (I received a blocked notice), I would
>appreciate it if you would make this posting on my behalf.
>Begin forwarded message:
>>From: Barbara Simons <simons@acm.org>
>>Date: November 17, 2006 10:28:41 AM PST
>>To: Ginny Ross <Ginnypdx@comcast.net>
>>Cc: Mark Crispin Miller <mcm7@MAIL.nyu.edu>,
>>VoteTrustLeaders@yahoogroups.com, Coordinators EDA
>>CASE_OH@yahoogroups.com, Electionintegrity@googlegroups.com, Open
>>Voting Consortium <ovc-discuss@listman.sonic.net>,
>>kathy@uscountvotes.org, PDA <Mimi@PDAMERICA.org>,
>>Subject: Re: [ElectionIntegrity] Taskforce on Federal Legislation
>>Dear friends,
>>If there is any chance that we can "save democracy from these DREs
>>by '08", we must pay attention to political reality. HR 550 was
>>endorsed by over half of the current House members. Holt has been
>>working on legislation to require VVPATs and mandatory manual
>>random audits in all elections for years. He has made
>>modifications to his proposed legislation as new insights have been
>>gained. HR 550 is a big improvement over its predecessor.
>>Holt is currently working on the version that he will be
>>introducing in the next Congress. Several computer scientists who
>>have been fighting DREs, myself included, have been asked to submit
>>suggestions. If you have concrete politically viable
>>recommendations on the following two issues or some other aspects
>>of the legislation, please send them to me and I will forward them
>>to Holt's office. Of course you should feel free to send them
>>yourself, if you prefer.
>>1. Who should be responsible for auditing oversight? HR550 called
>>for the EAC to have oversight, but we all recognize the major
>>shortcomings of the EAC as it is currently composed. However, if
>>states have the responsibility, then we are confronted with the
>>likes of Blackwell in Ohio and Katherine Harris in Florida. Can
>>you suggest a way around this problem?
>>2. What should be the percentage of ballots that are audited?
>>Should it be an absolute number, eg 2%? If not, how should the
>>percentage be arrived at? If yes, what do you think that figure
>>should be? Please keep in mind that most election officials don't
>>even understand the notion of randomness and certainly won't be
>>able to deal with a complex mathematical formulation.
>>If you are concerned about "overhauling" HR 550, now is the time to
>>speak out on those concerns. But please think strategically. We
>>could push for a "perfect" bill that has no chance in hell of
>>passing, or we could push for a very good bill that significantly
>>improves the current situation and that might actually become law.
>>To me the choice is a no-brainer.
>>Also, please keep in mind that if some version of HR 550 becomes
>>law, it is always possible to push for additional legislation that
>>will deal with other issues relating to voting. Efforts to reform
>>the way that elections are run in the US will not halt with the
>>passage - if we are very fortunate - of an updated version of HR
>>P.S. It can be counterproductive to attempt to get legislation
>>modified AFTER it has been introduced. Representatives and
>>Senators endorse a specific version of a bill. If you start
>>monkeying with the wording, you can end up losing key endorsements,
>>and you also look indecisive. This is not good politics. Now, not
>>next month and certainly not next year, is the time to propose
>>modifications to HR 550.
>>On Nov 17, 2006, at 8:25 AM, Ginny Ross wrote:
>>> Dear EI Leaders,
>>> A new and increasingly urgent concern for all of us is federal EI
>>>legislation and the pros and cons of HR 550 and HB 6200.
>>> I feel caught up in a whirlwind of discussion on legislation in
>>>the various EI leaders lists I participate in. There are likely
>>>many others feeling the same.
>>> I believe it is vital for our movement to unify under common
>>>principles. Our main differences could likely be understood and
>>>perhaps resolved with concentrated, open, collaborative efforts.
>>>Then we could push together, as a movement, for passage of
>>>urgently needed paper ballot legislation that will not be burdened
>>>with a battle royale or intra-movement conflict over the other
>>>features of HR 550.
>>> I do not know the answers, but I know that we are racing the
>>>clock in an all out sprint to save democracy from these DRE's
>>>before '08.
>>> Therefore, I would like to propose a unified discussion/action
>>>list that will allow all voices to be heard in a fair and open
>>>forum. As a simple starting point, I feel the main discussions
>>>fall into 4 general areas:
>>> 1) Paper Ballot / Record requirements
>>> 2) Audit/Verification of machine votes and counts
>>> 3) Oversight & Transparency issues / Vendor Involvement in Certification
>>> 4) Strategy as to how to approach the new Congress (Amend HR 550
>>>/ HB 6200, other approaches)
>>> Maybe there is another way to outline the tasks, or I have
>>>omitted something important. My goal is to stay very simple.
>>> I propose the formation of a single Yahoo group on this vital
>>>topic, inviting all serious activists concerned with federal EI
>>>legislative issues and all who wish to listen. I volunteer to
>>>create the list and help moderate to prevent any disruption in
>>>this vital work. The information discussed could be freely
>>>shared, and therefore allow participants to use the information to
>>>inform their own legislators. I believe in free, viral
>>>transmission of information in the situation (such as now) when we
>>>are in a very dangerous, high speed, fast track approach to HR
>>>550. I do not feel alone in expressing near panic that the bill
>>>might be passed without the major (not too time consuming)
>>>overhaul it needs.
>>> The core lists I would build the "EILeg@yahoogroups.com" list
>>>would draw from VTUSA, ElectionIntegrity, BBV, CEPN, EDA,
>>>USVotecounts, OregonVRC, CASE_OH, PDA and OVC. I may be missing
>>>something important, I don't know. This is not an exclusive list,
>>>just a practical starting point. I feel that on all these lists,
>>>there is a GOLDMINE
>>>of legislative discussion and strategy. I believe in
>>>consolidating, collaborating, and treating this goldmine as our
>>>treasury of future power. We need to capture and use this power
>>>effectively if we, as a movement, hope to have a compelling, rapid
>>>and undeniable influence upon the federal legislative efforts that
>>>are now on the immediate horizon.
>>> Your comments and ideas on this topic, or offers to assist or to
>>>manage the project, are welcome.
>>> Sincerely,
>>> Ginny Ross
>>> Portland, OR

Arthur M. Keller, Ph.D., 3881 Corina Way, Palo Alto, CA  94303-4507
tel +1(650)424-0202, fax +1(650)424-0424

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Received on Thu Nov 30 23:17:08 2006

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