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Activists From 25 States Lobby for Paper Ballots

June 8, 2005

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Activists From 25 States Lobby for Paper Ballots June 9 & 10

Voters across the country are concerned about electronic touch-screen voting machines. At last count, citizens in almost every state have formed more than seventy non-partisan grassroots organizations to ensure that a voter-verified, manually auditable paper record of every vote is required at both the state and federal levels. More than 200 of these electronic voting reform activists, representing 25 states, are meeting in Washington DC on June 9 and 10 to lobby for the passage of H.R. 550 The Voter Confidence and Increased Accessibility Act Introduced by Rep. Holt of New Jersey.

VoteTrustUSA (http://www.VoteTrustUSA.org.) is among the national organizations coordinating visits of these constituent lobbyists with more 95 Members of Congress. VoteTrustUSA is a national support network for these grassroots organizations, providing a national voice for state and locally based election reform community, and helping them improve coordination, organization, teamwork, knowledge and communication within their individual organizations and as a national alliance. The mission of VoteTrustUSA is to ensure that future elections are free, fair, accountable and accurately reflect the intentions of the voters.

Joan Krawitz, Executive Director of VoteTrustUSA observes: “Whether we vote by filling in a paper ballot or on computerized touch screen machines, almost all elections in the U.S. are counted electronically. Paper ballots can be randomly audited as a safeguard against the errors and breakdowns that often occur in the vote recording and tabulation process, and they can be manually recounted in the case of a close race Votes cast on paperless electronic voting systems cannot.

Ellen Theisen, VoteTrustUSA’s Director of Information Resources notes that “recounts of votes cast on these machines can only replicate the original results; they neither detect nor correct machine-related errors.”

Warren Stewart, Director of Legislative Issues and Policy at VoteTrustUSA explains:

“VoteTrustUSA supports H.R. 550 The Voter Confidence and Increased Accessibility Act Introduced by Rep. Holt of New Jersey. This bill effectively addresses the widespread concern over the accuracy and security of voting systems. Its carefully written language is the result of years of dialogue with computer scientists, election reform advocates, and numerous organizations of disabled Americans. H.R. 550 would strengthen the HAVA current requirement for a permanent paper audit trail by requiring that the voters have the opportunity to verify the accuracy of the paper record of the vote and that all voting systems produce a voter-verified paper record. It would require random, unannounced, hand-count audits of the voter-verified paper records, conducted by the Election Assistance Commission in 2% of the precincts in each State, including at least one precinct per county. It would preserve HAVA’s existing access requirements for voters with disabilities; clarify and enhance the security requirements demanded of systems to be used by voters with disabilities, and add the requirement that an accessible vote-verification mechanism be provided.”

Ms. Krawitz, Ms. Theisen, Mr. Stewart Information Manager John Gideon and leaders from a number of state organizations will be available for media interviews at the Capitol, HC-7 at 10:45 am , Friday June 10, 2005, following the Lobby Days Coalition Press Conference.

ENDS

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