Electronic Voting Law, Acts, and Bills
The United States Constitution outlines roles for both the state and federal governments in elections. States are given the authority to regulate the elections process itself. This includes the power to decide details of registration procedures, absentee voting requirements, establishment of polling places, and counting and certification of the vote. States are, in general, also responsible for covering the costs of elections. While election policy and regulations are decided at the state level, most states have decentralized the process so that details of election administration, including the choice of voting technologies, are done at the city or county levels.
Help America Vote Act (HAVA)
As a result of the 2000 Presidential Election debacle, the federal government has exerted more direct authority over the administration of elections and mandated specific procedures for election reform. Among the mandates in the Help America Vote Act are the requirement for all states to provide a process for allowing voters to cast provisional ballots by 2004 and the requirement for all states to have at least one DRE machine per county to provide enhanced access to the voting process by people with disabilities by 2006. A provisional ballot allows voters whose voter registration status is in doubt to cast a vote pending review by the local election board.
Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA)
In the fall of 1998, Congress passed the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), an extension of copyright protections designed to deal with problems the copyright industry saw emerging with the growing adoption of digital technologies such as the personal computer and the Internet. The DMCA, which was supported by the software and entertainment industries and opposed by academics, librarians and scientists, included provisions making it a crime to circumvent anti-piracy measures included in commercial software and stipulated that Internet service providers must remove material from their clients web sites that appears to violate copyright. Copyright holders who determine that a web site is storing or linking to information they believe to be under their copyright can notify the Internet service provider hosting the site and demand that the material be removed.
The DMCA negatively restricts public debate over electronic voting in at least two significant ways. First, the law makes it illegal to apply long established and legally recognized fair use principles, which allowed the reverse engineering of commercially available electronic technology that utilizes encryption. This prohibition on reverse engineering restricts the legitimate investigation of the claims made by electronic voting technology vendors about their equipment. Second, the mere posting of data regarding the design and operation of voting software developed by private corporations may be subject to a DMCA pull down request, as was the case when voting activist Bev Harris posted software source code and internal company memos of the DRE voting machine manufacturer Diebold corporation.
- The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) (full text)
- law summary
- Douglas Barnes, How to Fight the Super DMCA...and Win, 2003
- EFF "Intellectual Property - Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA)"
- EPIC on DMCA and Digital Rights Management
Uniform Computer Information Transactions Act (UCITA)
UCITA bars the public disclosure of flaws or problems discovered in equipment purchased or about to be purchased. Language from this Act may appear in purchase contracts provided by vendors to states and counties. It shields manufactures from liability from poorly designed voting equipment; bars public comment or disclosure of poorly performing software that may exist on electronic voting technology; and allows the introduction of "back doors" in the design an implementation of software products sold under these types of contract or licensing agreements.
Voter Confidence and Increased Accessibility Act of 2003
Sponsored by congressman Rush Holt (NJ), the bill requires all voting systems to produce a voter-verified paper record for use in manual audits and recounts, bans the use of undisclosed software and wireless communications devices in voting systems, requires all voting systems to meet these requirements in time for the general election in November 2004, requires that electronic voting system be provided for persons with disabilities by January 1, 2006 -- one year earlier than currently required by HAVA and requires mandatory surprise recounts in 0.5% of domestic jurisdictions and 0.5% of overseas jurisdictions.
House Resolution 2360, the Voting Ehancement and Security Act of 2007, a bill to amend the Help America Vote Act of 2002 to require States to meet Federal guidelines for the operation of electronic voting equipment. Rep. Vernon Ehlers, [MI-3] (introduced 5/17/2007)
House Resolution 1646, the Mail-In Ballot Tracking Act of 2007, a to amend the Help America Vote Act of 2002 to require States to implement procedures for tracking ballots which are transmitted by mail , and for other purposes. Rep. Susan A. Davis [CA-53] (introduced March 22, 2007)
House Resolution 1523, a bill to provide for interregional primary elections and caucuses for the selection of delegates to political party Presidential nominating conventions. Rep Sander M. Levin, [MI-12] (introduced 3/14/2007)
Senate 1487, the Ballot Integrity Act of 2007, a bill to amend the Help America Vote Act of 2002 to require an individual, durable, voter-verified paper record under title III of such Act. Sen Feinstein, Dianne [CA] (introduced 5/24/2007) .
House Resolution 1433, a bill to provide for the treatment of the District of Columbia as a Congressional district for purposes of representation in the House of Representatives, and for other purposes. Rep Eleanor Holmes Norton, [DC] (introduced 3/9/2007)
House Resolution 1383 the Quelling of Unwanted Intrusive and Excessive Telephone Calls Act of 2007, a bill to amend title 18, United States Code, to provide penalties for the misuse of robocalls. Rep Zoe Lofgren [CA-16] (introduced 3/7/2007)
House Resolution 1381, the Count Every Vote Act, a bill to amend the Help America Vote Act of 2002 to improve the administration of elections for Federal office, and for other purposes. Rep Jones, Stephanie Tubbs [OH-11] (introduced 3/7/2007)
House Resolution 1298, the Push Poll Disclosure Act, a bill to amend the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 to require persons conducting Federal election polls by telephone to disclose certain information to respondents and the Federal Election Commission. Rep Thomas E.Petri [WI-6] (introduced 3/1/2007)
House Resolution 894 the Responsible Campaign Communications Act of 2007, a bill to amend the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 to apply certain requirements regarding the disclosure of identifying information within communications made through the Internet, to apply certain disclosure requirements to prerecorded telephone calls. Rep David E. Price [NC-4] (introduced 2/7/2007)
House Resolution 879 Verifying the Outcome of Tomorrow's Elections Act of 2007, a bill to amend the Help America Vote Act of 2002 to require individuals to present a government-issued photo identification as a condition of voting in elections for Federal office, to prohibit any individual from tabulating votes in an election for Federal office unless the individual has been subject to a criminal background check. Rep Tom Feeney [FL-24] (introduced 2/7/2007)
House Resolution 818 the Ex-Offenders Voting Rights Act of 2007, a bill to ecure the Federal voting rights of certain qualified ex-offenders who have served their sentences.Rep Charles B. Rangel [NY-15] (introduced 2/5/2007)
H.R. 811 a substitute offered by Subcommittee on Elections Chair Zoe Lofgrin, the Voter Confidence and Increased Accessibility Act of 2007." Introduced by Rep. Zoe Lofgrin [CA] May 2007
House Resolution 811, a bill, to create voter verified audit trail requirement for all federal elections. The bill has 174 bipartisan cosponsors and has been referred to the House Committee on Administration. (February 7, 2007) Rep. Rush Holt [NJ2] (introduced 2/5/2007) The report language for the bill is the version that will be considered by the U.S. House of Representatives.
Senate Resolution 804, the Count Every Vote Act of 2007, a bill to amend the Help America Vote Act of 2002 to improve the administration of elections for Federal office. Sen Hillary Rodham Clinton [NY] (introduced 3/7/07)
Senate Resolution 730 the Voting Opportunity and Technology Enhancement Rights Act of 2007, a bill to amend the Help America Vote Act of 2002 to protect voting rights and to improve the administration of Federal elections. Sponsor: Sen Christopher J.Dodd, [CT] (introduced 3/1/2007)
Senate Resolution 737 the oter Advocate and Democracy Index Act of 2007, a bill to amend the Help America Vote Act of 2002 in order to measure, compare, and improve the quality of voter access to polls and voter services in the administration of Federal elections in the States. Sen Barack Obama [IL] (introduced 3/1/2007)
House Resolution 756, E-Poll Book Improvement Act of 2007, a bill to amend the Help America Vote Act of 2002 to direct the Election Assistance Commission to develop and adopt guidelines for electronic poll books in the same manner as the Commission develops and adopts voluntary voting system guidelines under the Act, and for other purposes. Rep Diana DeGette [CO-1] (introduced 1/31/2007)
Senate Resolution 559 the Vote Integrity and Verification Act of 2007, a bill to amend the Help America Vote Act of 2002 to require a voter-verified permanent paper ballot. Sponsor Sen.Bill Nelson (FL) [FL] (introduced 2/13/2007)
House Resolution 481 the Federal Election Integrity Act of 2007, a bill to amend the Help America Vote Act of 2002 to require each individual who desires to vote in an election for Federal office to provide the appropriate election official with a government-issued photo identification, and for other purposes. Rep John T. Doolittle [CA-4] (introduced 1/16/2007)
House Resolution 492 the District of Columbia Voting Rights Restoration Act of 2007, a bill to restore the Federal electoral rights of the residents of the District of Columbia, and for other purposes. Rep Dana Rohrabacher [CA-46] (introduced 1/16/2007)
Senate Resolution 453 the Deceptive Practices and Voter Intimidation Prevention Act of 2007 (Introduced in Senate), a bill to prohibit deceptive practices in Federal elections. Sen Barack Obama [IL] (introduced 1/31/2007)
House Resolution 421 the Federal Election Administration Act of 2007, a bill to amend the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 to replace the Federal Election Commission with the Federal Election Administration, and for other purposes. Rep Marin T. Meehan [MA-5] (introduced 1/11/2007)
House Resolution 301 the Voter Bounty Registration Act of 2007, a bill to amend the Help America Vote Act of 2002 to establish standards for the distribution of voter registration application forms, and for other purposes.Rep Stevan Pearce [NM-2] (introduced 1/5/2007)
House Resolution 302 the Fair Voter Education Act of 2007, a bill to amend the Help America Vote Act of 2002 to prohibit a State receiving payments under such Act from using the payments for public communications which promote or oppose a candidate for public office or political party. Rep Stevan Pearce [NM-2] (introduced 1/5/2007)
House Resolution 281 the Universal Right to Vote by Mail Act of 2007, a bill to amend the Help America Vote Act of 2002 to allow all eligible voters to vote by mail in Federal elections.Rep Rahm Emanuel [IL-5] (introduced 3/1/2007)
House Resolution 101 the E-Poll Book Improvement Act of 2007, a bill to amend the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 to prohibit certain State election administration officials from actively participating in electoral campaigns. Rep Susan A. Davis [CA-53] (introduced 1/4/2007)
House Resolution 71 the First Amendment Restoration Act, a bill to amend the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 to repeal the requirement that persons making disbursements for electioneering communications file reports on such disbursements with the Federal Election Commission and the prohibition against the making of disbursements for electioneering communications by corporations and labor organizations. Rep Roscoe G. Bartlett [MD-6] (introduced 1/4/2007)
House Joint Resolution 4, Every Vote Counts Amendment, a bill proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States to abolish the electoral college and to provide for the direct popular election of the President and Vice President of the United States.
House Joint Resolution 2 Proposing an amendment the Constitution of the United States regarding presidential election voting rights for residents of all United States territories and commonwealths. Rep Donna Christensen [VI] (introduced 1/4/2007)
- Representative Rush Holt on Paper Voting Trails and Restoring Voter Confidence, Buzzflash interview February 10, 2004.
- Voter Confidence and Increased Accessibility Act of 2003 (full text)
- The Scope of Congressional Authority in Election Administration, United States General Accounting Office, Report to the Congress, March 2001
- VOTING MACHINES: Constitutional Issues, Federal & Case Law, web resource page developed by Lynne Landes