Action Alert

March 14, 2004

Ask Reps to support Voting Machine Paper Trail

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Please take time to personally contact Senators and representatives (especially those in Rahall and Mollohan's districts) to emphasize the threat of DREs (computer voting machines) without a paper trail and urge support of HR2239 and S1980.

Numbers do make a difference. See suggested letter below. We must have confidence in our ballots being counted correctly! For more info see

Following are addresses, FAX numbers, phone numbers and where possible email addresses and names of particular contact persons. Beware that US Postal service is ultra-snail mail due to terrorism screening. 
Senator Robert C. Byrd
311 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510-4801
contact:Ann Barth in Charleston
Jane Mellow in DC

Senator Jay Rockefeller
531 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510-4801
FAX 202-224-7665
contact inWV Wes Holden,
DC Pat Robertson 
Note both Wes and Pat have underscores between first & last names

Congressman Nick Joe Rahall, II
2307 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515-4801
FAX 202-225-9061

Congressman Alan Mollohan
Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515-4801
FAX 202-225-7564
DC contact Kristen Michaels

Congresswoman Shelley Moore-Capito
1431 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515-4802
FAX 304-926-8912
FAX 202-225-7856
Contacts WV Anne T. McCuskey 
DC Bryan Cummings 

Sample Letter


Following the election of 2000 the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) developed federal requirements for voting methods that would insure accessibility, reliability, reproducibility, ease of counting and, in general, confidence in the electoral outcome. I am generally very supportive of HAVA. Unfortunately, its requirement for an auditable recountable paper trail has been interpreted out of existense.

Touch screen electronic voting machines, familiarly DREs, which initially seemed the dream machine, are, as now configured, fatally flawed. There is no way to truly do a recount on a DRE, because there is nothing to recount. One must accept the machine reported outcome although the count is done in a "blackbox" in secret with no possible oversight of the methodology or the software that drives it. Most importantly any computer programmer will tell you there is no necessary relation between what appears on the computer's screen and what the software is doing inside. The election can be tampered without anyone knowing. We need a voter verified paper ballot generated by the computer after each vote and kept securely as ballots always are, available for a recount.

The country is being swept by lack of confidence in DREs with flaws showing up in interim elections, unanswerable questions about others, suits pending, and scathing opinion pieces in major newspapers by very knowledgeable people. This is an issue with which states cannot deal individually as a questionable outcome in even one state affects us all. We clearly need a nationally uniform policy, and yet the federal government has provided no guidelines to deal with the issue. Congressman Rush Holt's HR 2239 and Senator Bob Graham's S 1980 deal well with my concerns as well as those expressed by the computer expert community. As you may know for very good reason West Virginia requires a 5% random recount of votes in all precincts. That is not possible for DREs, and for the one county currently using that technology, Cabell, the requirement has of necessity been waived. I think that is sweeping the dirt under the rug and is not a good precedent to follow.

We need help in West Virginia and nationwide to achieve an election in which all of our citizens will have confidence. We need you to clarify and strengthen the one weak section of HAVA that requires an auditable paper trail, but apparently not in sufficiently strong language to be obvious and enforceable. HAVA is inadequate, a work in progress, without the requirements of HR 2239 and S 1980. In essence I call on you to finish the work begun over two years ago. Your support of and sponsorship of those bills would be very meaningful, and a powerful aid to an honest election process in West Virginia.


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