HELP AMERICA BELIEVE IT CAN VOTE. E.J. Dionne has a good column today about H.R 515, Rep. Rush Holt's augmentation of the Help America Vote Act to ensure paper trails, create routine, random audits of two percent of precincts, and keep voting machines offline where they can't be remotely tampered with. The bill currently has 219 sponsors (which means, a majority of the House), a fair chunk of them dragging an "R" behind their names.
That no similar legislation has yet been passed is a remarkable -- and to some, telling -- shame. Whether you believe in tampered machines or eschew such theories, that our elections should be heavily fortified against suspicion seems rather obvious. Obvious to the Democrats, with their sour memories of 2000 (and Ohio 2004), but also to the Republicans, who believe they've detected their own instances of vote tampering. Protecting against doubts in our democracy doesn't mean you buy into theories about fraud or theft: It just means you acknowledge that such concerns are poisonous to the process. Happily, it seems a bit more than half the House has now done that. The question is when, or whether, the leadership will bring their preference to the floor.