Saturday, March 17, 2007

Rep. Rush Holt's ballot bill

One of my favorite radio shows, Ring of Fire, today hosted Ralph Neas of People for the American Way, who says even though N.J. Rep. Rush Holt's electronic ballot bill is flawed, PFAW is supporting it. Time is of the essense, he says.

Last week, show hosts Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and Mike Papantonio had on Brad Friedman of Brad Blog, who thinks the bill is too flawed to support in the form it's in.

The main contention is that Holt seems not to have understood the real problem when he wrote it to require "paper trail" instead of "paper ballots." What needs to happen is that electronic poll machines need to be able to spit out a receipt to verify their vote. After all, the makers of these machines also make bank ATMs. Can you imagine how long those would have lasted in the market if it didn't verify to you as a customer what was going in or coming out of your accounts -- if you had to wait until a final statement each month and then had no recourse if they gave your money to another customer but said it was secrret how that happened? That's what the "black boxes" we vote on do now.

Neas says his position is that it's unrealistic to mandate every county clerk in the nation to replace the machines they already have, and if the bill did that, no part of the bill could be put into action by this November.

Ring of Fire plays again from 4 to 6 p.m. tomorrow, Sunday. You can stream it anytime or listen live online tomorrow, but if you're in Monmouth County your radio may pick it up on New York WWRL 1600 AM (may because the radio signal is reduced on nights and weekends).

Off with me now, because their next guest is Joe Wilson. I'm going to get a cup of coffee and roll my chair up to the radio!

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