Another look at voter confidence

I have not followed the debate over the congressional bill to require a verifiable paper trail for all voting machines (HR 811: The Voter Confidence and Increased Accessibility Act), so I was interested in [the recent] letter on the subject [“Heave Holt,” Dec. 12]. I was suitably alarmed by such statements as: “The bill is now as thick as a phone book” and “sets up a committee hand-picked by the president.”

So I followed the suggested link, then went to many more to study the bill and read the text. It turns out that the letter writer’s concerns appear unfounded. The current bill has only one amendment, the full text is less than 30 pages, and there is no reference to a presidential committee. It passed out of the House Committee on a 6-3 party-line vote, with Republicans voting against it.

This bill requires a paper trail for all federal elections. It also requires that all electronic voting systems must be tested by independent testing labs, the software must be “archived” in a federal vault and the machines must be available for the 2008 presidential elections. Amazingly, the bill even allocates money for testing and conversion.

To me, this sounds like a good start toward fairer elections that can’t be stolen. I’m glad [Rep.] Heath Shuler is one of the bill’s co-sponsors.

—  Gordon Clark
Weaverville

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