UPDATE: Iowans for Voting Integrity members were informed yesterday that a leading Senator views this bill as a “solution in search of a problem” and that a provision for post-election audits is not likely to move this year. See IVI's press release addressing various objections to the bill, and take action below!
Iowans, and especially Polk County folks, please take some time out of your busy day to protect the 2010 elections.
Second funnel is fast approaching at the Statehouse, and your help is needed to pass House File 682, an important bill that would provide checks and balances on the vote count in general elections.
Iowa got rid of unverifiable touch screen voting machines in 2008, but we Hawkeyes lag behind half the states and the District of Columbia in a crucial area of election protection: post-election audits.
Post-election audits are a simple process: after the election, county election officials choose a random sample of precincts and hand count a number of races. HF 682 passed the Iowa House unanimously in 2009, but the bill has lagged in the Senate. Audits are cost-effective: the fiscal note for HF 682 estimates that the bill would cost all 99 counties combined between $11,000 and $21,000 every two years.
There was some concern that audits are only busywork, but as a letter to lawmakers and Auditors from internationallly recognized computer scientists shows, nothing is further from the truth. There is simply no effective way to gain reassurance about computer vote tallies without a hand-counted sample of ballots following the election.
FOR POLK COUNTY VOTERS: If you live in Polk County, please take an equally important step: contact Polk County Auditor Jamie Fitzgerald at 515-286-3247 and urge him to ask his county's lawmakers to support this much-needed bill. Auditor Fitzgerald was originally opposed to HF 682, but after changes were made to the bill, including allowing Auditors to choose additional precincts, he dropped his opposition and declared support for it. But he needs to hear from his constituents that this is important. If you don't have time to call, you can reach Auditor Fitzgerald by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for helping in this critical effort to protect elections in 2010 and beyond.