In-District Lobby Days to Save our Elections
August 15-16, 2005 -- As Tip O'Neill famously said, "All politics is local." On August 15 and 16, Pennsylvania voters brought the campaign to pass a federal law mandating a voter-verified paper audit trail to their local District Congressional Offices and urged representatives to co-sponsor H.R. 550, the Voter Confidence and Increased Accessibility Act.
The HR 550 Bill, which has bi-partisan support, would require all voting machines to produce an actual paper record that voters can view to check the accuracy of their votes and that election officials can use to verify votes in audits and recounts. This essential safeguard protects the vote in the event of a computer malfunction, hacking, or other irregularity.
In-District Lobby Days was put together by a coalition which included Common Cause, Electronic Frontier Foundation, VerifiedVoting.org, VotersUnite, VoteTrustUSA, and Working Assets. State coordinators for In-District Lobby Days were Marybeth Kuznik and Kathy McPherson of VotePA, a statewide alliance of groups and individuals working for Election Reform and Voting Rights in Pennsylvania.
Thank you to all the citizens and Congressional staff people who participated. We urge the Congressmen and Congresswomen whose offices were visited to add their support to this multi-partisan effort to verify and protect our vote!
IN-DISTRICT LOBBY DAYS MEETINGS WERE HELD IN THESE DISTRICTS:
3rd - English
4th - Hart
5th - Peterson
7th - Weldon
10th - Sherwood
16th - Pitts
18th - Murphy
19th - Platts
HERE ARE PICTURES AND NOTES FROM SOME OF THE IN-DISTRICT LOBBY DAYS VISITS:
District 4 - Melissa Hart Citizens met with Ms. Hart's District Director Kevin McGavik
Kevin McGavik, District Director for Rep. Melissa Hart (R-PA) stands center with (to right front) Kathy McPherson and MaryAnn Weaver ( in
lavender), co-leaders of this H.R. 550 Lobby Days meeting which took place on Monday, August 15th, 2005 in New Castle, Pennsylvania.
District 5 - John Peterson Citizens met with Mr. Peterson's District Director Peter Winkler
The meeting was possitive and Peter Winkler took two Copies of the Frequently asked
questions and answer one for the office in Washington, DC We had a very good meeting
it was very informal and he asked questions which we were able to refer him to the answers
in the booklet. Every thing was very positive.
David J. Cornelius
District 16 - Joe Pitts Citizens met with Mr. Pitts' Chief of Staff Tom Tillett
Here are some photos from our HR550 Lobby Days in Lancaster on our visit to Joe Pitts Office in the 16th Congressional District. Joe Pitts is a co-sponsor of HR 278 a bill which requires Voter Verified Paper Trails, but it does not go as far as HR550 which gives the power to be audited and counted. We are not sure if he will support HR550, but we are hoping for his leadership on this issue.
HR550 - Lobby Days Coalition
Holly Williams and Mimi Shapiro
Tom Tillett, Rep. Pitts District Chief of Staff talking to Gene Aleci and Dale Hengrick
Hines Matthews, Dale Hendricks and Gene Aleci
Ben Kreider amd Holly Williams
District 19 - Todd Platts Citizens met with Mr. Platts' Deputy Chief of Staff Bob Reily
Our meeting went reasonably well. We left two copies of talking points. Bob Riley listened tentavley, but was firm with his position of undecided.
The only reason that we can think of not supporting the Bill, is they're feeling is don't change when they're winning. Charlie is following up with a letter top the editor.
From Charles Siford: I sent the following letter to the Carlisle Sentinel, Harrisburg Patriot-News, York Daily Record and York Dispatch:
With the very important 2006 elections coming up next year, there is movement in Congress to pass a law that will require a voter-verifiable paper record. One such bill, H.R. 550, is currently in committee and has the support of over 140 bi-partisan supporters. However, it needs over 218 supporters to pass.
The movement to require a paper trail at the voting booth has come about because of the widespread reporting of suspected election fraud that has occurred in both national and local elections. In order to safeguard the accuracy and integrity of the vote and to fully insure that each vote is counted we need a verifiable paper record. Imagine going to an ATM, making a transaction and not receiving a receipt. Fully a third of the voting machines in this country do not produce a paper record which can be validated and audited. Without a paper trail, Direct Recording Electronic (DREW) voting machines are vulnerable to hacking, thus undermining voter integrity.
On Monday, August 15th, I joined a group of concerned citizens who met at Representative Todd Platts' office to urge him to co-sponsor H.R. 550. Presently Congressman Platts has not taken a position on this bill or any of its kind.
I would hope that representatives from both parties would join the fight for independently auditable election results; a voter-verified paper ballot for every vote cast. Any other method is fundamentally incompatible with democracy.
Charles F. Siford
thought you would like to see the printed version of the letter I sent in to my local newspaper.
Thank you all for your support in our efforts to get Kurt Weldon's support on HR550