Third Party & Independents Archives

HAVA Is More Important Than You Think: Part Three

The Help America Vote Act is extremely important to voting reform, yet it is seriously flawed. Unfortunately the majority of the voice of the third parties are obsessed with Lieberman and the war, yes these are important but so is voting reform. Well I have to go I have a thousand more obsessive articles about Lieberman to go read!

The state voter registration databases, spoken of previously, mandated by HAVA, could cause extra problems in HAVA’s implementation and success. Like many of the HAVA mandates Congress was rather vague and allowed a great deal of leeway to the states in the manner in which they set up these databases. One report has already noted that there have been “substantive differences in approaches around the country” (33). While differences in implementation do not necessarily mean a failure for HAVA it does open the door for increased problems.

The greatest problem involved in the mandated statewide voter registration databases involves voter privacy. Kim Alexander, president and founder of California Voter Foundation, notes that, “The Help America Vote Act mandated that all states create centralized statewide voter registration databases, but it didn’t mandate any protections for that data” (34). Considering that such data as place and date of birth, current address, along with other voter information will be stored in these databases, the lack of protections required could make these databases a haven for data for identity thieves (35).

In Florida, a state whose voter registration problems in 2000 are largely responsible for the enactment of HAVA, a report by the auditor general of the state showed the widespread possibility of privacy issues as well as fraud issues in the database. The report stated, “Florida voter registration data can be vulnerable to theft, corruption, unauthorized access and alteration, despite the best efforts of election officials,” showing clearly that states are still having serious problems with these databases even nearly four years after HAVA’s enactment (36). While the auditor general’s report found many problems with the database, some of the most noteworthy include: state workers mistakenly given access, contract workers retaining access after completion of their assignment, along with IT security problems (37).

With HAVA not mandating any security provisions states are left to freely leave out important provisions which could help against potential security issues. The report of the auditor general of Florida notes that HAVA does not mandate virus protection, patch management, maintenance or system recovery provisions, all of which if implemented would make these statewide databases more secure (38). Paula Hawthorn, a former database executive at Hewlett Packard as well as former head of a Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) committee, notes that these problems are not only occurring in Florida but instead are rather widespread (39).

The ACM has consistently shown flaws in the security of these voter registration databases. Noting that in many areas recipients are not required to sign use agreements, that two third’s of the states do not contact voters who have been purged from the database, that many states do not require a backup of the database (such as on a DVD-ROM), and that HAVA requirement’s of merging voter databases with other statewide databases, such as motor vehicle records, have introduced errors into the database that have purged voters (40). Because HAVA does not set strict guidelines Congress has enabled states to create sub-par databases.

As the 2006 midterm elections approach many states either do not have voter registration databases set up or have severe security problems with these databases. The Center for American Progress (CAP) teaming with former Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle (D- S.D.) has called the current system, “a shambles” (41). A study conducted by CAP found that, “13 states representing 60 million voters had not constructed voter registration databases with the highest standards necessary,” and recommended that the EAC “design and implement clear standards for purges of voter rolls” (42). The Harvard Law Review has also highlighted serious problems in voter registration databases, noting that many states have databases which still contain the names of persons which have moved, died, or committed a felony (43).

33. "States Fail to Meet Voting Reform Deadlines”

34. Marc L. Songini, “Voter Database Security Questioned,” Computerworld, 40 (26) (June 26, 2006): 12

35. Ibid.

36. Marc L. Songini, “Auditor’s Report Criticizes Florida’s Voter Database,” Computerworld, 40 (26) (June

26, 2006): 12.

37. Ibid.

38. Ibid.

39. Ibid.

40. Paula Hawthorn, Barbara Simons, et al., “Statewide Databases of Registered Voters,” Communications of

the ACM, 49 (4) (April 2006).

41. “Daschle, Policy Group Pushes Election Reforms,” Congress Daily, October 25, 2005, 10.

42. Ibid.

43. “Developments in the Law Voting and Democracy,” 1145.

Previous Parts In This Series Can Be Found At:


Posted by Richard Rhodes at September 5, 2006 3:16 AM
Comment #179265

Voter identification is necessary to prevent voter fraud. Reading problem after problem (above), it becomes clear that there is one (typical) common thread: government incompetence.

You’d think we could get much better for the massive $2.2 trillion in taxes Americans pay annually.

With close elections, voter fraud is a serious issue. Those that don’t want any form of identification, and/or any way to verify identity, obviously don’t care about illegal aliens voting in our elections.

Also, voters need to be able to verify their vote. That can easily be accomplished with a unique number that any voter can use to find their vote in a news paper or on-line database.

Money is not the problem, because government wastes billions each year on pork-barrel (e.g. $27 billion of pork-barrel in 2005). Besides, they can just print more money, seeing how M3 Money Supply increased by $721 billion in 2005 ($917 billion in 2002). What they don’t print, they can borrow, and then print more money later to pay for what they borrow. So, money is not the problem.

Perhaps the only solution is to replace all of the irresponsible, bought-and-paid-for incumbents in D.C. with some that have order of priorities, which currently place the voting, the nation, and voters at the bottom.

If not, voters will continue to be defrauded.

When released its comprehensive statistical analysis on March 31, however, the situation dramatically changed. There can be no doubt that questionable practices affected votes for president [in 2004] in some states.

A CNN poll today (5-SEP-2006) shows:
21% of Americans are content.
76% of Americans are angry.

What will this mean? The current congress is failing miserably, because of corruption, preoccupation with self-gain, and greed, putting the nation at the bottom of their priorities. Hopefully, they will not get re-elected, but don’t get your hopes up, since Americans are the other half of the problem, and petty partisan warfare distracts them from substantive issues such voting, corruption, etc.

Posted by: d.a.n at September 5, 2006 2:50 PM
Comment #179340

While I am also concerned with these problems with registration databases, I am more concerned with the serious flaws that are destroying our democracy by allowing the votes to be easily flipped and/or tampered with by one person, using something as small as a handheld Blackberry, from a remote location, in about a minute.
But really, there are so very many problems with HAVA, and this is due to the fact that the GOP really doesn’t want anything to be fixed. By not being serious about election reform, they’ve been winning ALL of their elections, so why should they care, right?

“I have a thousand more obsessive articles about Lieberman to go read!”

In that case, here’s one you don’t want to miss:
GOP secretly channeled millions to Lieberman

Independent Democrat, my ass. Nomentum is about as independent as a heroin addict twitching from withdraw, and looking desperately for his connection. And surprise! surprise! Joe’s Man is named Uncle Karl.

Posted by: Adrienne at September 6, 2006 2:33 AM
Comment #179430
Mr. Lieberman has raised most of his money from outside Connecticut

Wonder if that bothers the people of Connecticut?

The voting fraud is a serious issue.

Adrienne, You’re right. They don’t want to fix it, and it is an issue of cost, since the government can simply borrow more or get the Fed to print more of it.

Posted by: d.a.n at September 6, 2006 4:23 PM
Comment #179465

Future parts in this series will address some of the other issues you discussed Adrienne, especially voter fraud through DRE’s.

Posted by: Richard Rhodes at September 6, 2006 7:45 PM
Comment #179487

The anti-incumbent numbers this Nov. 7, are going to be hard to cover up. In fact, districts where the tallies are tampered with, may become exposed by the extreme absence of anti-incumbent votes, subjecting the district to investigation.

This is going to be as closely scrutinized, if not the most closely watched election results in our history. If games are played with the numbers, they are likely to be more visible than ever by their lack of uniformity.

Posted by: David R. Remer at September 6, 2006 10:05 PM
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