Congressman renews call for voting paper trail

A Congressman who fought last year for a bill that would have required all electronic voting machines to generate a paper record that voters could verify has reintroduced the legislation.

Rep. Rush Holt (D-N.J.) said he has rewritten the bill to strengthen some aspects of it, while maintaining the original intent. The bill would amend the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) of 2002.

Holt said he believes the bill has a better chance of passing this year now that the 2004 election is in the past.

"I think both Republicans and Democrats [in Congress] have had quite a bit of exposure to this back in their town meetings and interactions with their constituents," he said. "This is a subject that people all over the country are talking about."

Meanwhile, the National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS) passed a resolution earlier this month urging Congress to not reauthorize the Election Assistance Commission when its initial charter expires in 2006. The four-member commission was created under HAVA to set standards for voting procedures.

At a hearing today before the House Administration Committee, commission Chairwoman Gracia Hillman said the tension between states and the federal government is nothing new.

However, she said, she was not aware of any great objection to the commission among state officials.

"We thought there would have been a dialogue" before the NASS took any such action, she said.

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