Sean Flaherty

UPDATE: Iowa Senate Failing to Safeguard the 2010 Vote

(If your state senator is one of the 15 members of the Iowa Senate State Government Committee, please call him or her in addition to sending an e-mail. The Iowa Senate switchboard number is (515) 281-3371. - promoted by desmoinesdem)

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.

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Action Alert: Urge Senators to Pass Verified Voting in 2009

(We have a lot of close elections in Iowa and need confidence that our machines are counting votes accurately. - promoted by desmoinesdem)

 

Your help is needed to keep Iowa moving toward verified voting. House File 682, the work of a task force of citizens, election officials, and lawmakers, would require Iowa to conduct hand-counted audits of election results. HF 682 passed the House unanimously on Monday evening, but the Senate is not moving the bill forward.

Audits are done by comparing a hand-tally of paper ballots to the machine tally, in a number of precincts selected at random. If the results don't match, further checking can be done. Unlike recounts, audits happen every time as a check and balance on the system — not just when a particular contest is at stake. It's not difficult to do; in November 2008, audits were done in 22 states and the District of Columbia. And for good reason: computer scientists who know our voting systems, including Iowa's Douglas Jones, view audits as no less important than voter-verified paper ballots. 

You can use Verified Voting's Action Center and send a message:

 http://salsa.democracyinaction.org/o/199/campaign.jsp?campaign_KEY=26937

Thanks for your help!

Sean Flaherty

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Tell President-Elect Obama to Support Verified Voting

(Verified voting has been on my mind lately, so thanks to Sean for posting this diary.   - promoted by desmoinesdem)

We have an opportunity to make sure that President-elect Obama hears from citizens about the importance of verified voting. The Presidential transition team has set up a system called “Open for Questions” on change.gov Citizens submit questions of their own, and vote on other questions. The transition team will gather the responses and post answers in the New Year.

You can help by recommending this question for consideration:

“President-elect Obama has cosponsored two bills* that would eliminate unverifiable voting in federal elections. Will he ask the 111th Congress to pass a law requiring paper ballots and random hand audits of computer vote tallies?”

You can recommend as many questions as you like, so you will not lose other opportunities to share your ideas by doing this.

Tips for recommending a question on the flip.

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Action Alert: Protect the South Carolina Primary

Iowans have to step up to protect the South Carolina primary. Most do not know it, but the primary will be conducted on a statewide touch screen system without a paper trail. And not just any touch screen: South Carolina uses an extremely insecure system that Ohio’s Secretary of State recommended scrapping just last week, and which Colorado’s Secretary of State decertified on Monday. Iowans should educate the Presidential candidates, and call on them to act.

It’s worse than I anticipated.” Those are the words of Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner used to describe the security of voting systems in her state, following a top-to-bottom review by a corporate-academic team. Brunner has recommended that Ohio scrap all direct-recording electronic touch screen systems.  

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UPDATED Action Alert: Contact Rep. Boswell TODAY to Protect the 2008 Election

( - promoted by Simon Stevenson)

[Update: Today we learned that Rep. Jim Marshall of Georgia, like Rep. Boswell a Blue Dog Democrat, has expressed support for HR 811 even without the unfunded mandate amendment. The bill will not get to the floor until Friday, so there is time to contact Rep. Boswell, and be sure to tell him about Rep. Marshall!]

HR 811, the Voter Confidence and Increased Accessibility Act, is getting a vote this week. Passage of the bill is essential to a verifiable 2008 election. We need voter-verified paper records and random mandatory audits by 2008!

There is a potential amendment to the bill that needs to be defeated. An “unfunded mandate” amendment could be introduced that would delay the 2008 deadline for paper records and audits.  This amendment is unnecessary. HR 811 now allows states and counties to purchase less expensive paper-trail printers for the 2008 election. And last spring Iowa passed funding for upgrades that meet the 2008 requirements of the bill (see line 10-21). The bill is probably going to the floor on Thursday so today is the day to act.

**Call Congressman Boswell TODAY at 202-225-3806 to tell him to oppose the unfunded mandate amendment to HR 811!**

More on the flip.

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Tell Clinton, Dodd, Obama: A Paper Trail by 2008 is a MUST

We finally got a paper ballot law for our state, but Iowans must step up ensure that the 2008 Presidential election is not decided by tens of millions of votes that cannot be verified or truly recounted.

Last Friday, Senator Dianne Feinstein introduced the Ballot Integrity Act of 2007 (no bill number yet), which will require that all voting systems used in federal elections offer a voter-verified paper record- by 2010. The bill will also require equally important routine hand audits of the paper records – by 2010. Among the bills cosponsors are Senators Hillary Clinton, Christopher Dodd, and Barack Obama.

The Ballot Integrity Act will likely be treated as a companion to Rep. Rush Holt’s bill HR 811, a bill which is very near to a full House vote, so the prospects of a conference committee this summer are strong. HR 811 has a 2008 deadline for paper records and audits.

There is good stuff in the Senate bill, but 2010 is too late as a deadline. Unless federal or state legislation changes things, 13 states are likely to use paperless electronic voting, either exclusively or extensively, in the 2008 election. Among those states are Texas, Virginia, Tennessee, Pennsylvania, Georgia, and South Carolina.

That’s tens of millions of votes, dependent entirely on the correctness of software. What a risky and foolish gamble, in the wake of a drumbeat of security reports, a comprehensive analysis by a task force of top computer scientists, and vote-altering glitches in recent elections.

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