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A Concise List Of Problems In Holt Bill HR 811

Beware of the Bandwagon: A concise list of problems in Holt Bill HR 811

Tips for action: You can find your local congressperson, along with contact info, by going to and entering your zip code. Educate your local news reporter on this. And send to your lists.

Further action suggestions will follow.

There is a reason you are receiving e-mails to urge your congressperson to "hurry" and pass the Holt Bill. They hope it won't be read.

You should know this -- the following groups have come out against the new Holt Bill:

- Black Box Voting has publicly come out against the Bill - Open Voting Consortium has publicly come out against the Bill - Brad Friedman (BradBlog) has publicly come out against the Bill - Jon Bonifaz ( / Demos) has publicly come out against the Bill - Paul Lehto has publicly come out against the Bill - Democracy for New Hampshire has publicly come out against the Bill

Decline to support: - John Gideon (VotersUnite, VoteTrustUSA) has publicly refused to support the bill

and there will be more.


1. DECEPTIVE LANGUAGE. Calls a paper TRAIL a paper BALLOT.

2. BILLION DOLLAR UNFUNDED MANDATE: Requires text conversion technology in every polling place. At $7000 per machine for 185,000 polling places, you do the math. See this article for documentation on the billion-dollar boondoggle:

The bill is not talking about scanner wands, folks. Or if it is, they'd better specify that, and soon! Except that apparently, it's too late to make changes.

Note that only two vendors currently manufacture the needed technology, and one (Populex) has as head of its advisory board Frank Carlucci, the former chairman of the Carlyle Group, former CIA director, who was Donald Rumsfeld's roommate in college. Every polling place in America. Is this really what you want? Isn't it time to read the fine print on this???

3. MAKES THE SCANDAL RIDDEN EAC A PERMANENT FIXTURE AND INCREASES ITS POWER. Alan Dechert, from the Open Voting Consortium says it best: "Holt contemplates the invasion of these United States by the Federal government. If passed, it would BREAK the voting system in the states while establishing a dictatorship to handle things: the Election Assistance Commission ("EAC" or just "the Commission") with its four commissioners appointed by the president of the United States." Bradblog on latest EAC scandal:


5. NO RECOGNITION OF CITIZEN RIGHT TO OVERSIGHT. Audit provisions do not allow either citizens or candidates access to any records for meaningful audits.

6. CONFLICTING REQUIREMENTS -- ie, must have text converters by 2008 and must study how to best do the conversions by 2010.

7. LANGUAGE ON DISCLOSED SOURCE CODE CONTAINS AN ERROR in that it doesn't deal with COTS - meaning, any electronics component with a chip on it would be required to disclose source code. There are literally hundreds of commercial off the shelf components in the system -- printers, video drivers, motherboard components -- that contain firmware, and these are manufactured all over the world. The bill would require Hitachi, Seagate, Fuji, Western Digital to open up their code for their commercial products if used in voting machines. Effectively eliminates the use of electronics while at the same time mandating electronics.

8. MUSH LANGUAGE. (Example: "The manufacturer shall provide the appropriate election official with the information necessary for the official to provide the information...")

9. UNREADABLE: People complain about their legislators not reading the bills -- well the way this is written, it guarantees they won't read it. No Appendix, so sections of the bill require the reader to actually go find a different bill and look up sections in it in order to make sense of the current bill. (example: "Section 301(a)(1) of such Act (42 U.S.C. 15481(a)(1)) is amended (A) in subparagraph (A)(i), by striking "counted" and inserting "counted, in accordance with paragraphs (2) and (3)");

10. AUDIT PROTOCOLS NO ONE AGREES WITH, even fans of audit solutions

11. LOOPHOLE ALLOWING INTERNET CONNECTIONS for central tabulators and ballot definition software

12. LOOPHOLE ALLOWING MANUAL AUDITS TO BE BYPASSED states with computer-only recount protocols

13. LOOPHOLE ALLOWING MACHINE COUNT TO SUPERCEDE VOTER VERIFIED PAPER when fuzzily described circumstances arise. Los Angeles Registrar Conny McCormack already has tried to co-opt this (Feinstein senate hearing yesterday) into meaning when there is a printer jam damaging the paper, the machine count will trump.

14. SUPPORTS DREs (Touch-screens and other on-screen voting techniques that are NOT recommended by NIST)

This is a devastating development. So many people worked so very hard on this bill, but in the end it isn't about who worked hard. It's about getting it right. We can't afford another set of HAVA problems.

And if it's got this many problems now, just wait until the lobbyists carve it up.

We're going to have to roll up our sleeves to get what CITIZENS want. More action-oriented, solution-focused information to follow. Black Box Voting is working right now with many other group leaders to brainstorm the best way to deal with this.

Bev Harris Founder - Black Box Voting

# # # # #

Government is the servant of the people, and not the master of them. The people, in delegating authority, do not give their public servants the right to decide what is good for the people to know and what is not good for them to know. We insist on remaining informed so that we may retain control over the instruments of government we have created.

* * * * *

Black Box Voting is a nonpartisan, nonprofit elections watchdog group supported by citizen donations. The work of Black Box Voting has been featured on CNN, ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox News Network, MSNBC, the New York Times, the Washington Post, Time Magazine, and was featured in the recent HBO documentary "Hacking Democracy."

To support Black Box Voting, click to or send to: 330 SW 43rd St Suite K PMB 547 Renton WA 98057 Contact information and press kit:

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