Counting votes

The authors of the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) of 2002 have taken a stand against requiring direct recording electronic voting machines to generate a voter-verified paper record.

In a letter released last month to other members of Congress, Sens. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Christopher Dodd (D-Conn.) and Reps. Robert Ney (R-Ohio) and Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) wrote that legislation proposing an amendment to HAVA is ill-advised.

"Not only are such proposals premature, but they would undermine essential HAVA provisions, such as the disability and language minority access requirements, and could result in more, rather than less, voter disenfranchisement and error," the letter states.

The act's authors anticipated concerns about security, so HAVA calls for the creation of a Technical Guidelines Development Committee to help develop standards for security, the detection of fraud and the protection of voter privacy, the letter states.

Rep. Rush Holt (D-N.J.) proposed amending HAVA last year to require, among other things, that any voting machine must produce a paper record of the vote. The bill has attracted co-sponsors but is still before the House Administration Committee, which Ney heads.

"The security of voting technology is a nonpartisan issue," the letter states. "We encourage you to allow HAVA to be implemented as enacted and provide those who are charged with ensuring the security of voting systems the time and flexibility needed to get the job done effectively."

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