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Voter Verification Newsletter -- Vol 1, Number 14

Voter Verification Newsletter -- Vol 1, Number 14

David L. Dill ( November 23, 2003

************ For previous newsletters, see

Please forward this newsletter to your friends! ************


You may have already heard, but it's worth repeating. This is a huge win.

Last Friday, November 21, California Secretary of State Kevin Shelley announced that the state will require an accessible voter-verifiable paper audit trail on all voting equipment by July 2006. His announcement was a response to rising concern in California, along with the rest of the nation, about the increasing use of computerized touch-screen voting systems.

In February 2003 Secretary Shelley appointed a task force, including yours truly, to analyze touch-screen voting and report its recommendations. Our final report included many recommendations to improve the security of electronic voting systems. It also included a recommendation to require a voter-verifiable audit trail on all new election equipment by 2007. Kim Alexander of the California Voter Foundation, Dr. David Jefferson of Lawrence Livermore Laboratories, and I strongly expressed the need to impose such a requirement much sooner.

Even though we were in the minority, Secretary Shelley was obviously listening - to us and to over 4,000 letters his office received favoring a voter-verifiable paper trail requirement. His order is more aggressive than the task force recommendation. It requires that all equipment purchased after July 1, 2005 include a voter-verifiable paper trail, and it bans paperless touch-screen machines by July 2006.

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While many of us would have liked to see an even more aggressive timeline, this announcement is still a WIN of huge proportions. Remember, the entire country has been watching California. We are such a big market for voting equipment that vendors are sure to produce equipment to meet our requirements and those machines will be available everywhere else in the country.

You can read the news release here:


Since mid-October, when's calling campaign began, the number of co-sponsors has nearly doubled. As of this writing, H.R. 2239 has 82 co-sponsors, and three of them are Republicans. They are: Tom Davis (R-VA), Chairman of the Government Reform Committee; Christopher Shays (R-CT); and Charles Bass (R-NH). We deeply appreciate the courage of these three men.

Our thanks also goes to the many volunteers and the countless others across the nation who joined in and have clearly brought this important issue to the attention of Congress.

In Representative Holt's press release announcing the Republican support, he said, "I am very pleased that my Republican colleagues have joined my effort to protect the future integrity of our elections. There's clearly momentum building in Congress and across the country to see this legislation pass. I expect we'll see even more cosponsors sign on in the days and weeks to come."


Six volunteers have written an open letter to the committee where H.R. 2239 currently resides. The letter was faxed to all members of the committee on Wednesday, November 19.

Using words spoken by Senators and Representatives during the HAVA deliberations, it reminds the committee members of the democratic intent of the legislators when they passed HAVA. It points out that the goals for HAVA are not being reached and that H.R.2239 must be passed immediately in order to attain the legislators' stated goals.

We are actively working to get this letter published in newspapers in the states (ideally districts) served by the members of the committee: California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, New York, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.

You can read the letter at:

We encourage you to add your endorsement.


EFF has set up an action page where you can easily send a letter to your Representative supporting H.R.2239. Even if you have already called and emailed and written, please take a moment to go to:

and click on the second action item at the top of the page. We suggest that you fax the letter. We understand that faxes are more effective than emails to Representatives.


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