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Rep. Holt Statement on House Voting Legislation PDF  | Print |  Email
By Representative Rush Holt   
July 15, 2008
Rep. Rush Holt (D-NJ) issued the following statement in support of legislation, similar to his own emergency bill introduced earlier this year, which would reimburse states and localities to make available paper ballots for the November 2008 elections. The bill failed to secure the two-thirds needed for passage:

I rise in support of H.R. 5803, a bill that would reimburse states and localities to make paper backup ballots available for this November's 2008 election.

I want to complement Rep. Lofgren for introducing this important measure that would allow more Americans to vote than might otherwise be able if their only option is failed electronic voting. The bill would allow more Americans to vote when facing long lines, something that has been documented widely.

Passing comprehensive election reform to help ensure the accuracy, integrity, and security of our electronic voting systems and other voting systems has long been a priority for me. At the beginning of the 110th Congress, I introduced legislation to establish national standards of verifiable elections. That bill has not received a floor vote, despite support from a bipartisan majority of members. So in January of this year many of us introduced simplified, optional legislation that would reimburse states that convert to paper ballot voting systems, offer backup paper ballots, and/or conduct random audits in this fall's election. Unfortunately, following opposition from the White House, the vote broke mostly on party lines and the bill was not passed.

After our opt-in legislation was not passed, I urged Congress to reconsider this issue. So I am really pleased that the Committee on House Administration has incorporated part of our legislation into the bill on the floor today. This is a useful step.

The ability to vote is the most important right, as it is the right through which citizens secure all other rights. Yet cynicism of the public is rampant and could cripple our democracy. Increasing the availability of paper ballots, however, is only one of the steps that we must take in order to address the documented problems faced by voters and by election officials. I will continue to work with Ms. Lofgren and others to ensure that Congress does all it can to protect the integrity and the accuracy of our elections and to give voters the confidence in
their system. During each election in recent years cynicism has grown among voters. I hope my colleagues will join in the continuing effort to provide verifiable, reliable, and confident voting.
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