House Refuses to Fund Paper Ballots
In another disappointment to any American who hopes for verifiable elections, the House of Representatives voted down a bill that would have provided funding to states and local governments that want to have paper ballots available for voters this November.
HR-5803, a boiled down version of HR-5036 (called the Emergency Assistance for Secure Elections Act of 2008, which failed to pass in the House in April of this year) went down in flames with 57% of the House voting yes; a two-thirds margin (66%) was needed to pass the bill.
The bill would have paid "grants to participating States and units of local government which will administer the regularly scheduled general election for Federal office held in November 2008 for carrying out a program to make backup paper ballots available in the case of the failure of a voting system or voting equipment in the election or some other emergency situation, and for other purposes."
Sadly, the roll call vote indicates that clean, verifiable elections are still a heavily politicized and partisan issue. All the Democratic House members voted "yea." They were joined by only 20 Republicans. All other GOP House reps voted against paper ballots.
That thumping sound you hear is coming from Springfield, Illinois; Abraham Lincoln is flopping around in his grave.
John Gideon, co-executive director of VotersUnite.org, said federal legislation to provide paper ballots "[I]s just not going to happen. Not only do the Republicans not want it, but the House and Senate leadership does not seem to be on our side."
Avi Rubin, Professor of Computer Science at Johns Hopkins University (seen here discussing e-voting on Lou Dobbs Tonight) said, "It's a real missed opportunity. I just hope we won't be sorry in November."
I think we will indeed be sorry in November. Very, very sorry.