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Prevent Voter Fraud in VA
Keep the Ban, Save the Vote: Oppose HB 2080  

Keep the Ban, Save the VoteACTION ALERT: contact VA legislators by Thursday afternoon to prevent voter fraud in upcoming elections. How can you prevent voter fraud? Keep the ban on DRE voting machines (new touch screen voting machines) that can't be recounted or verified. Oppose VA HB 2080.

If the VA General Assembly passes HB 2080, Virginia would become the first state in the nation to reverse direction and move back toward paperless electronic voting.

Please forward to your committees, email lists, post on your websites.

A little background ...

In the 2000 Presidential Election it became critically apparent with all the voting problems that we needed a way to confirm the actual vote. Electronic touch screen voting was one identifiable problem, and finally in 2007 Virginia banned the purchase of new touch screen voting machines (DRE's: direct recording electronic voting machines). They can be used, but when new voting machines are needed ones that have a verifiable audit trail must be purchased, e.g. optical scan.

There is a well-intentioned, but misinformed effort that came up last year and has resurfaced this year. The House elections subcommittee threw a curve ball Tuesday morning and recommended a one year lapse in Virginia's DRE ban. The 'motivation' is to provide financial relief to the counties who claim they need to buy DREs to get through redistricting. Cost is a red herring; nonetheless, the effort to REMOVE the ban is dangerously close. They could spend the same or less money transitioning to optical scan voting which leaves a paper trail. If this amendment becomes law, the counties and cities (who claim to be broke) will stock up on enough DREs to avoid switching for years. If this amendment fails, then most localities will have to start phasing in optical scan machines this year.

What this means is that the legislation proposed would allow a period that new DRE voting machines could be purchased, i.e. stocked up. Do you really want to have these machines with absolutely no way whatsoever to count the vote for our critical upcoming Senate and Presidential elections? No, a thousand times no. Hell no.

The full House P&E committee votes Friday morning at 9AM. It would help if, no it's critical we call / email, especially from
constituents before this vote. Contact from outside the district helps to a degree.

P.S. If you're in Richmond Friday morning, and can speak against the bill at P&E, please come to the hearing.

Preserve Fair and Accurate Elections in Virginia

Continue the Ban on New Electronic Voting Machines (DREs)

Dear Virginia voter,

The House Privileges and Elections committee votes Friday morning Feb 4 at 9AM on a bill that would  allow localities to stock up on paperless electronic voting machines during 2011-2012, the same time that they would otherwise be making the transition to optical scan ballots that leave a paper trail. The time frame is critical because this is a redistricting year. If this bill passes, then Virginia will halt our transition to verifiable voting machines, and purchase many more unverifiable machines that will remain in the Commonwealth for years.

Please call or email members of the House Privileges and Elections (P&E) Committee and ask them to oppose HB 2080 Friday morning in P&E, and to preserve the ban on new paperless electronic voting machines, known as DREs. Your call is especially valuable if you are a constituent.

A very short phone call or email is all that's needed. Members don't have time during session to read long emails. Be short and polite. Time is limited! This critical vote will take place Friday morning at 9AM.

Technical note - the version of the bill that will be voted on at Friday's committee hearing is different than what was originally introduced and shows on the General Assembly's computer. The Elections subcommittee is proposing an amendment that removes the DRE ban for a year, ostensibly to save counties money, but in actuality that just delays the transition for a decade as counties will instead spend the same money on unverifiable machines instead of recountable optical scan paper ballots. The other House DRE bills were rolled into HB 2080.

DREs have failed in Virginia elections. The risks of conducting elections with DREs were made clear in the March 10, 2009 Special Election in Fairfax County. A DRE reported 724 total votes on election night despite only 359 people voting on that machine. The cause of that incorrect result has never been explained, yet many Virginians still vote on that model DRE.

Optical scan voting saves money. Even very large precincts can use a single optical scan tabulator, typically replacing 5 to 10 DREs at a fraction of the cost, even considering ballot costs.

Over three-fourths of the states have moved toward verifiable voting for excellent reasons. Without a voter-verifiable paper record, a meaningful recount of an election cannot be conducted, software errors can make it impossible to recover the voters' intent, and the opportunity for large-scale fraud is expanded.

If the General Assembly passes HB 2080, Virginia would become the first state in the nation to reverse direction and move back toward paperless electronic voting.

The 2007 decision by the General Assembly and the Governor was a strong step forward for election integrity. It came after several years of hearings, citizen action, and is in-line with the direction the majority of the states are heading. Virginia citizens deserve verifiable elections.

You don't have to be a constituent, but definitely mention if you are. Thanks for taking action.

Alex Blakemore
Virginia Verified Voting

House Privileges & Election Committee (oppose HB 2080. Keep the DRE ban)

Cole (Chair) 804.698.1088
Cosgrove (Vice Chair) 804.698.1078
Janis 804.698.1056
Scott, J.M. 804.698.1053
Dance 804.698.1063
Putney 804.698.1019
O'Bannon 804.698.1073
Hugo 804.698.1040
Alexander 804.698.1089
Spruill 804.698.1077
Ingram 804.698.1062
Bell, R.B. 804.698.1058
Gilbert 804.698.1015
Joannou no email 804.698.1079
Jones 804.698.1076
Miller, J.H. 804.698.1050
Cox, J. 804.698.1066
Sickles 804.698.1043
Albo 804.698.1042
Landes 804.698.1025
Phillips 804.698.1002
Howell, A.T. 804.698.1090

Reposted from VA Democratic Party action alert

Originally posted to leveymg on Tue Feb 01, 2011 at 03:06 PM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Expect to see this all over the country, (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dqueue, bablhous, KenBee, oopsaDaisy

    be prepared, people, to fight this battle again.

    The GOP loves to steal elections, whether through unreliable machines programmed by friendly to the GOP corporations, or Supreme Courts packed with members 'in the movement'.

    Republicans mass manufacture turds and sell them successfully as chocolate, steak and potatoes. Turds, it's what's for dinner.

    by doinaheckuvanutjob on Tue Feb 01, 2011 at 05:13:11 PM PST

  •  Aw HELL no! (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dqueue, bablhous, KenBee

    "The truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it." - Flannery O'Conner

    by Dixiedemocrat on Tue Feb 01, 2011 at 05:58:01 PM PST

  •  Thank you, Alex! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Thank you for leading the Verified Voting charge in Virginia once again, Alex.  

    It is so disgusting to have this issue come up once again in Virginia.  The persistence of irrationality and ignorance in our culture is discouraging. Sigh...

    I notice that Delegate Hugo is still on the P&E committee.  I hope that we can still count on his leadership on the side of Verified Voting.

    For those of you who are not familiar with the story, I will give some background.  About five or six years ago there was an ordinary school board election in Fairfax, in Northern Virginia.  Some touch screen DREs used in Fairfax at the time appeared to misbehave, in the opinion of many voters, and the local Republican committee became convinced that their candidate lost the election because of the problem.  No recount was possible, of course.  As a result, the move to ban DREs in Virginia started in Fairfax, and the Republicans of Fairfax were the leaders.  Delegate Hugo [R] represents them, and he sponsored the bill that ultimately passed, albeit with modifications.  A fascinating, and surprising, thing about the politics of the process was that it was completely non-partisan: people from the entire political spectrum supported the bill, and a nearly equally wide range opposed the bill.  A majority of the local registrars led the opposition; as far as I could tell, their main motivation was that they resented having non-registrars telling them what to do!  They also seemed to think that people proposing the DRE ban were questioning their judgment and/or honesty.  A secondary motivation was money concerns.  My immediate reaction to Alex's report is that the registrar's opposition is probably behind this latest scheme to drop the DRE ban.

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