Last month, Grand Rapids area Congressional Representative Vern Ehlers Republican) introduced the Voting Enhancement and Security Act of 2007 (HR 2360) in the House of Representatives. The bill would amend the Help America Vote Act of 2002 to establish state guidelines for an independent and verifiable voting record on electronic machines, require state auditors to certify audit plans, and require states to develop contingency plans and emergency ballot protocols.
Republicans on the House Administration committee--on which Ehlers is a ranking member--are urging their colleagues in the House to vote for Ehlers' bill instead of another popular voting reform bill known as HR 811. That bill would require that electronic voting machines generate voter-verified paper trails and require them to be in place by 2008 and would require mandatory audits of a portion of precincts in federal races. A key difference is that Ehlers' bill does not require changes by the 2008 election, nor does it require the paper trails that many voting reform organizations have sought. Lawrence Norden of the Brennan Center for Justice Under Law of New York University said that Ehlers' bill "does nothing to address the serious voting system security vulnerabilities experts have identified" and cites it as an example of Republicans using the tough deadline imposed under HR 811 to ensure that Congress does not address the security and accuracy of voting machines.
However, some critics of HR 811's deadlines have introduced legislation
calling for paper trails. On May 25, Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein introduced the Ballot Integrity Act of 2007 that would implement safeguards to prevent errors and tampering at the polls, require states to use voting systems with voter-verified paper records subject to public manual audits in the 2010 federal elections, and ensure that voters are not denied the right to vote by faulty purges of voting rolls.
Friday, June 15, 2007
Media Mouse has the scoop: