Electronic Voting - A Non-Partisan Issue
H.R. 2239 Would Require Voter-Verified Paper Record
--- Warnings
--- Democracy at Stake
--- Report from UK
--- Work of Bev Harris
------ Get Book Free!
--- Bev Harris's Sites
Or -- "Voter-Verifiable Paper Trail"
--- Republican Sponsors
--- Legal Support
--- Bev H. Comments
------ Diebold Gives In!
------ Bev H.Comments
--- Diebold for Bush
--- Potential Problems

For more electronic voting news, see the Verified Voting Newsletter at http://verifiedvoting.org/

Electronic Frontier Foundation


Verify the Vote: Tell Congress to Fight for Secure Elections!

The 2004 presidential election might not be flawed like the last one; it might be worse. Communities across America are purchasing electronic voting (e-voting) machines, but the technology has serious security problems that need to be addressed. Most of the machines use "black box" software that hasn't been publicly reviewed for security. Almost none of the machines provide voter-verifiable paper ballots to detect fraud. And despite the efforts of one voting technology company to stifle its critics, the public has become increasingly aware of the problems in e-voting. Send your representative a letter supporting the Voter Confidence and Increased Accessibility Act of 2003 (HR 2239) to require openly reviewed software and voter-verifiable paper audit trails for all new e-voting machines.

Note: If your representative has already pledged his/her support for this bill, you will not be able to take action. Please click on the "Learn More About This Issue" button to see if your rep has already done the right thing.

November 19, 2003

Your U.S. representative

Dear Representative,

I am a constituent who cares deeply about security and trust in elections, and I urge you to cosponsor the Voter Confidence and Increased Accessibility Act of 2003 (VCIAA, HR 2239). As touchscreen voting (e-voting) technology is adopted across America, it's absolutely vital that these new systems meet basic standards of accountability and openness. I am particularly concerned that many systems do not use openly reviewed software and cannot provide a voter verifiable paper audit trail. Unless a paper record is generated by publicly reviewed software, verified by the voter and retained for potential recounts, I believe that this technology is unacceptable for use in our elections.

The public should be allowed to review the software that runs these machines in order to confirm that they act in the way that the manufacturer claims. Right now, however, the leading technologies are not only proprietary, they are covered by trade secret claims. This kind of closed source, or "black box," software lacks sufficient quality assurance. In fact, two recent analyses of one company's software revealed gaping security holes that could be exploited by anyone from a technically proficient insider to an average voter with a few dollars worth of technology in his or her pocket. This underscores how important open source software is for our elections. HR 2239 would require voting machines to use publicly reviewed software.

HR 2239 would also mandate voter verifiable paper audit trails for all new e-voting machines, a prerequisite for accountability and accuracy. The 2000 presidential election was a painful lesson in the failings of current voting technology, but at least there was a back-up system that allowed a manual recount when evidence emerged that the regular voting process was flawed. Without a paper audit trail, a compromised e-voting system could not provide even the cold comfort of Florida's manual recount. Luckily, adding this protection to the machines is not hard and does not have to add a significant amount to the cost of each unit.

I strongly urge you to cosponsor HR 2239 to ensure that all new e-voting machine purchases provide a voter-verifiable paper audit trail and use publicly reviewed software. Thank you for your time.


Your signature will be added from the information you provide below.

To be able to modify the above letter:


Scott Granneman adds one caution*---

The following is an excerpt from Granneman's article in The Register (UK)-- see

Rep. Rush Holt (D-N.J.) has proposed the Voter Confidence and Increased Accessibility Act of 2003 (H.R. 2239). Holt's proposed law would mandate the following by the November 2004 general election:

  • All voting systems must produce a voter-verified paper record which can be used during manual audits.
  • Voting systems must use open software and may not use wireless communications devices; further, any electronic communication performed by the voting system may only be outgoing, and only then to report vote totals.
  • Voting systems usable by people with disabilities must be in place by 1 January 2006.
  • Surprise recounts must take place in .5% of domestic jurisdictions and .5% of overseas jurisdictions.
These are reasonable proposals that would go a long way toward helping alleviate the concerns that many people have about electronic voting. Unfortunately, Rep. Bob Ney, the chairman of the House committee that would propose Holt's bill, opposes it, so it is essentially dead in the water. Coincidentally, or perhaps not, Ney is a Republican representing Ohio, the home state of Diebold. Hmmmm ...
*Despite these doubts, I've personally chosen to sign up as a volunteer with http://verifiedvoting.org. 
--Alene (website editor)

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