Contact: Tim Bradley, BerlinRosen Public Affairs, (646) 452–5637
Mike Webb, Brennan Center for Justice, (212) 998–6746
Bill Would Provide Emergency Ballots and Post-Election Audits
New York – Today, Larry Norden, Counsel in the Democracy Program at the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law, issued the following statement on H.R. 5036, the Emergency Assistance for Secure Elections Act of 2008, which the U.S. House Committee on House Administration voted in support of earlier today:
"Voting machine problems in many states’ presidential primary elections have already given us a preview of the widespread disenfranchisement that could happen in November if machines fail to operate.
"In an election year with unprecedented voter interest, it is essential that our voting systems are secure, reliable and accessible—and the Emergency Assistance for Secure Elections Act will help us achieve that.
"H.R. 5036 will reimburse jurisdictions for taking the steps that will protect voters from machine failures—like providing emergency paper ballots in the event of machine breakdowns, and conducting post-elections audits to make sure votes were properly tallied.
"These measures will ensure that voters aren’t stuck in lines or turned away from the polls because of machine malfunction, and after the voting is done, these measures will give election officials and voters alike the confidence that every vote was counted.
“Under the leadership of Representative Lofgren, Chair of the Subcommittee on Elections, and the bill sponsor, Representative Holt, the Committee has taken an important step today in making our nation’s voting systems as secure and reliable as possible. The full House should approve this measure to ensure fair and accountable elections in November. ”
Larry Norden was chair of the Brennan Center’s Task Force on Voting System Security and lead author of a comprehensive study on the security and reliability of the county’s voting systems, The Machinery of Democracy: Protecting Elections in an Electronic World. He is also the author of the Brennan Center’s 2007 report, Post-Election Audits: Restoring Trust in Elections.