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Assistance for Secure Elections 2008 bill, HR5036

Emergency Assistance for Secure Elections in 2008 bill, HR5036
From Kathy Dopp - National Election Dara Archive

Urge your U.S. Representative now to vote "YES" for the Emergency Assistance for Secure Elections Bill, HR5036.

HR5036 is scheduled as a suspension bill that cannot be amended. Its sponsor Representative Rush Holt explains that because of its category as a suspension bill, it cannot be amended but it must pass by a supermajority, two thirds of the vote.

We know that the need is for every voter to have a paper ballot and have every vote verified.

Far too many polling places lack voter-verified paper ballots for every vote cast and routine audits. Unless that changes, there surely will be elections with questions that cannot and will not be resolved.

Last year, Rep Holt introduced legislation to establish voter-verified paper ballots for every vote cast and routine random audits in all federal elections. As it becomes clear that Congress will not act on this soon enough, he has introduced an emergency stopgap measure to provide incentive to counties who want to do the right thing in time for the 2008 general election in November.

The bipartisan Emergency Assistance for Secure Elections Act of 2008 reimburses state and local jurisdictions that elect to convert to paper ballot voting systems, provide emergency paper ballots, and/or conduct audits by hand counts. Jurisdictions that takes advantage of this reimbursement will help prevent disputes and uncertainties about the November election.

Time is of the essence to pass this bill, in order to ensure that counties can take advantage of the opt-in reimbursements.

Please call or fax your Congressperson and Senators right away and ask them to support HR 5036.

Electronic-ballot voting machines, even those which produce a printed ballot, do not provide true verifiability because the voter has no way to check that the machine correctly cast or counted the ballot. Accurate voting methods to ensure that elections are fair and impartial require paper ballots and independent manual audits.

The full text of the "Emergency Assistance for Secure Elections Act of 2008" (HR5032) is posted here:

A one page flier of H.R. 5036's provisions is posted here:

HR5036 applies only to the November 2008 election and:

1. Reimburses jurisdictions who want to get rid of paperless DRE systems to switch to optical scanners, paper ballots, and ballot marking devices.

2. Reimburses any jurisdictions using any DRE (electronic ballot touch-screen machines - even ones with paper roll ballot records) to pre-print paper ballots in case of machine malfunction on election day only if these ballots will be counted as a regular ballot.

3. Reimburses any jurisdictions for conducting manual audits of machine-counted vote counts for audits conducted independently in at least 3% of vote counts that are publicly reported prior to conducting random selections for the audit. The bill makes other vote count audit requirements that are crucially important to valid audits but not currently met by most state vote count audit procedures.

4. Reimburses jurisdictions which determine the outcomes of election by hand counting all paper ballots.

Any county, township, or state jurisdiction may apply for reimbursement by:

1. applying in advance of the 2008 November election and providing assurances that the jurisdiction will meet the bill's requirements for emergency paper ballots or for obtaining precinct-based equipment that marks or tabulates or scans paper ballots.

2. certifying after the election that the audits were conducted as per the requirements of the bill for publicly verifiable manual audits of machine vote counts.

3. documenting reasonable costs paid or incurred by any jurisdiction. Reimbursement will be provided directly to the jurisdiction and applications do not have to go through the state. Payments will be made to the jurisdictions for reasonable costs within 30 days of receiving all required certifications and documentation of costs.

Any jurisdiction may apply to the National Institute of Standards and Technology at least 30 days in advance of the election for approval of alternative ballot sampling methods and so may use a more scientifically effective and efficient approach to auditing than a flat-rate 3% audit.

More than adequate funding is provided by H.R. 5036.

The time frame is still doable if Congress acts quickly.

How quickly can states replace paperless touch-screens with optical-scan paper ballot voting systems?

Paper ballot voting systems are more reliable and auditable and save jurisdictions and taxpayers money: See and click on "Voting Systems"


Now is your best chance to to help make the 2008 Presidential election verifiable. Please ask your members of Congress to co-sponsor the "Emergency Assistance for Secure Elections Act of 2008", Representative Rush Holt's bill to provide emergency funding for paper ballots voting systems and random hand counted audits of the November elections.

The Emergency Assistance for Secure Elections Act offers states or counties reimbursement for purchasing paper ballot systems in time for the November elections, and reimbursement for conducting random hand-counted audits of the November election results.

The bill would offer money only for the most reliable voting systems: those that use voter-marked paper ballots, with accessible ballot-marking devices to serve voters with disabilities. By offering crucial funding, Congress can empower state and county officials to do the right thing in time for November.

Rep. Holt's bill could not be more timely. As the Presidential primary season unfolds, 14 states will use paperless electronic system in their primaries, either as the statewide system, or as the system used in many counties.

Contact your US Representative

After the HR5036 bill passes the US Congress, please contact your local county, township, and/or state election jurisdictions' officials.

Verified Voting's research shows that there is plenty of time to replace paperless unauditable voting systems prior to November. "How Long Does it Take to Change a Voting System?"

Holt says that contacting the state or county to get verified voting systems in place" is the way to go. HR5036 will be taken advantage of by the many jurisdictions whose officials have been responsibly trying to scrap expensive vulnerable flawed DRE voting equipment but lacked funding.

Articles on HR5036, the "Emergency Assistance for Secure Elections Act":

NY Times Editorial January 16, 2008

A Quick Fix for Electronic Voting

Rep. pushes bill offering cash for paper ballots

Bill prods states to drop paperless voting machines

FYI, Holt's emergency election bill would immediately help states to scrap unreliable, dangerous paperless DREs such as NJ, MD, and FL, and, if they chose to participate, will help states like GA, DE, PA and several other states currently using unauditable paperless voting machines - to replace them and to provide faster, more reliable, trustworthy, more economical service to voters.


Please take action on this immediately by contacting your US House Representative NOW and asking him to vote "Yes" on HR5032.

Help ensure that the upcoming November 2008 election for the US Presidency and US Congress is decided fairly and accurately by voters.

Contact your U.S. House member now and simply urge him/her to vote "YES" on HR5032.

Thank you. Let's ensure the future of U.S. democracy NOW.

Kathy Dopp

The material expressed herein is the informed product of the author Kathy Dopp's fact-finding and investigative efforts. Dopp is a Mathematician, Expert in election audit mathematics and procedures; in exit poll discrepancy analysis; and can be reached at P.O. Box 680192 Park City, UT 84068

History of Confidence Election Auditing Development & Overview of Election Auditing Fundamentals

Vote Yes on HR811 and S2295

Voters Have Reason to Worry

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