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Watchdogs Ask: Is America Ready to Vote?

For Planning Purposes only for: Thursday, October 16, 2008. Report assesses 50 states on ability to address voting machine problems on Election Day.

October 14, 2008

For Planning Purposes only for: Thursday, October 16, 2008

A link to an embargoed copy of the report with charts and maps will be distributed starting Wednesday, October 15th. The report will be embargoed until 12PM EST on Thursday.

Contacts: Tim Bradley, BerlinRosen Public Affairs, (646) 452–5637
Mary Boyle, Common Cause (202) 736–5770
Pamela Smith, Verified Voting (760) 613–017For Planning Purposes only, Embargoed Until: Thursday, October 16, 2008

Report Assesses 50 States on Ability to Address Voting Machine Problems on Election Day

With millions of Americans expected to confront an array of voting technologies on Nov. 4, election experts from the Brennan Center for Justice, Common Cause and Verified Voting will release on Thursday a 50-state report card that grades every state on its preparedness to respond to Election Day voting system problems like broken machines, software malfunctions, or long lines that result from voting equipment breakdowns or misallocation of machines.

As the authors will explain in a conference call on Thursday, October 16, 2008 at 12PM EST, some states still have not adopted laws and procedures to effectively address an election system meltdown, even as the country has invested billions of dollars to improve its voting technology. The report finds a range of strengths and vulnerabilities in each state—based on whether they provide emergency paper ballots if machines malfunction; whether electronic votes come with backup paper records; and how states tally votes and audit election results to avoid miscounts.

Every national election since 2000 has seen voting system failures stem from machines that won’t start, memory cards that can’t be read, mis-tallied votes, lost votes and more—and the 2008 primaries have been no exception. This report will identify what states and voters can do between now and Election Day to make sure every vote is counted accurately.

WHO: Lawrence Norden, Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law, director of Voting Technology Assessment Project

Susannah Goodman, Common Cause, director of election reform

Pamela Smith, Verified Voting Foundation, President

WHEN: Thursday, October 16, 2008

12:00 PM EST

WHERE: Callers may dial in at 800–657–1263 and ask for the “Voting in 2008” call, or conference number 68724354.