Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Vote Scheduled on Emergency Election Assistance Bill

the suspension bill was defeated. It needed a 2/3rds majority for passage in the House.

Some national election integrity orgs were not impressed with it in the least.

Emergency" Bill Tries to Make Electronic Voting More Accurate, But Will It? By Steven Rosenfeld, AlterNet, Posted on April 3, 2008, Printed on April 3, 2008

SOURCE: Alternet.org


It was criticized for its opt-in audit requirement as well.

House defeats bill funding paper ballots

Associated Press Writer

The House on Tuesday rejected legislation providing federal funds to
help states deciding to switch to paper ballot voting systems for the
November elections.

The bill, an outgrowth of concerns over the voting machine glitches
that have emerged in recent elections, would have reimbursed states
that convert to paper-based voting systems or provide emergency paper
ballots that would be counted as regular ballots in the event of
machine failure.

The vote was 239-178 in favor of the legislation, short of the two-
thirds majority needed under a special floor procedure that limited
debate and barred amendments.


Holt Blasts Republicans for Blocking Emergency Voting Bill
By Rep. Rush Holt Press Release
April 15, 2008
Legislation Would Encourage States to Conduct Verifiable Elections

Rep. Rush Holt (pictured at right) today strongly criticized House members for blocking legislation – the Emergency Assistance for Secure Elections Act of 2008 (H.R. 5036) – that would encourage states to conduct verifiable elections by converting to a paper ballot voting system, offering emergency paper ballots, and conducting hand-counted audits. Two weeks ago, the same legislation passed the House Administration Committee with bipartisan, unanimous support, including from some of those who voted to block the bill’s passage today.


HR 5036 Will be up for a floor vote Tuesday, April 15, 2008. Supporters of the federal legislation urge its passage in order for state and local jurisdictions to receive funding in time for this year's Presidential election.

See C-Span schedule includes segment beginning after noon on Voting Machine Updates

Watch Live or Streaming video http://www.c-span.org/watch/index.asp?Cat=TV&Code=CS

see sidebar for more info

See VotePA for details of a Pennsylvania listing of members of Congress to call.



On Tuesday, the House will meet at 10:30 a.m. for morning hour debate and 12:00 p.m. for legislative business.

5) H.R. 5036 - Emergency Assistance for Secure Elections Act of 2008 (Rep. Holt – House Administration)


The following site contains a pre-formulated letter.

Tell Your Congressional Representative to Vote for HR 5036 “The Emergency Election Assistance for Secure Elections Act”

On Tuesday, April 15 the U.S. House of Representatives will vote on a bill that will help ensure election integrity in time for the November 2008 election.

HR 5036 will provide funding for states to put in place voter-verified paper records and audit requirements in time for the 2008 general election.


Note: The John Birch Society Criticizes the legislation, and urges its defeat.

Oppose H.R. 5036, Emergency Assistance for Secure Elections Act of 2008

[THOMAS] House Bill H.R. 5036 would purportedly increase the security of the U.S. election process by reimbursing jurisdictions that voluntarily replace Direct Recording Electronic voting systems with voter-verifiable paper ballot systems in time for the 2008 elections. The bill would also grant the Election Administration Commission (EAC) new audit regulatory powers and funding to pay for vote count audits of randomly selected precincts, as well as pay for hand counts of paper ballots cast in the 2008 elections...

The John Birch Society opposes the unconstitutional federal usurpation of the rights of states to control elections. We strongly object to the unconstitutional means by which H.R. 5036 would use the people's desire for voter-verified paper ballots as bait for establishing centralized control over elections. The constitutionally established balance of powers must be restored to prevent an over centralization of federal power leading to a dictatorship...


Also see this criticism

Emergency" Bill Tries to Make Electronic Voting More Accurate, But Will It? By Steven Rosenfeld, AlterNet, Posted on April 3, 2008, Printed on April 3, 2008

SOURCE: Alternet.org


While the JBS org raises clear points and warns of Congress' constitutional grab with the EAC, the merits of the bill in our opinion include its opt-in feature by states and local election officials who in some measure adopt a paper verifiable system or paper ballot record and voting system. Federal monies would be distributed accordingly and for audit measures.

While the audit portion of the bill is in all liklihood less than perfect, the funding that would ensue to jurisdictions that opt in would be free to institute even stricter procedures if the public will pushes them to that undertaking.

At least in some part, the federal government should be paying for voting systems used in federal elections and which meet requirements of the Help America Vote Act.

While it's certainly arguable whether the federal government should assume any responsibility for federal elections, the states retain that power according to the U.S. Constitution, the fact is states chose to accept HAVA monies and local jurisdictions presented plans which comply with HAVA.

Now, local jurisdictions are left in limbo if they choose to supplement their current electronic DREs with a paper record, DREs which in many states remain paperless, with mere printouts of digital images of the ballot recorded on internal and removable memory systems.

Another benefit to the monies could encourage local jurisdictions to adopt a precinct based optical scan reader to enable voters second chance voting, and possibly provide a secondary mechanism - digital image of ballots - to ensure a redundant system promoted by many such as verified voting and Dan Tokaji.

Net The Truth Online

Motion To Suspend the Rules
On Monday and Tuesday of each week and during the last six days of a session, the Speaker may entertain a motion to suspend the rules of the House and pass a public bill or resolution. Sometimes the motion is allowed on days other than Monday and Tuesday by unanimous consent or a rule from the Committee on Rules. For example, the House by rule from the Committee on Rules provided for the motion on Wednesdays for the remainder of the 108th Congress. Members need to arrange in advance with the Speaker to be recognized to offer such a motion. The Speaker usually recognizes only a majority member of the committee that has reported or has primary jurisdiction over the bill. The motion to suspend the rules and pass the bill is debatable for 40 minutes, one-half of the time in favor of the proposition and one-half in opposition. The motion may not be separately amended but may be amended in the form of a manager's amendment included in the motion when it is offered. Because the rules may be suspended and the bill passed only by affirmative vote of two-thirds of the Members voting, a quorum being present, this procedure is usually used only for expedited consideration of relatively noncontroversial public measures.

The Speaker may postpone all recorded and yea-nay votes on certain questions before the House, including a motion to suspend the rules and on passage of bills and resolutions, until a specified time or times on that legislative day or the next two legislative days. At these times, the House disposes of the postponed votes consecutively without further debate. After an initial fifteen-minute vote is taken, the Speaker may reduce to not less than five minutes the time period for subsequent votes. Eliminating intermittent recorded votes on suspensions reduces interruptions of committee activity and allows more efficient scheduling of voting.


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