October 20, 2005
Dear Member of Congress:
Before you conclude the first session of the 109th Congress, county officials across the nation urge you to attend to a critical piece of unfinished business that will protect and preserve the integrity of our voting process:
Fix the implementation timeline for the Help America Vote Act.
Many counties across the nation will be unable to comply with provisions of that law that are scheduled to take effect on January 1, 2006, because the federal government has failed to meet its own statutory deadlines for issuing standards for voting equipment – standards that have not been finished and to which no equipment has yet been tested or certified. In the absence of this certification, county officials can only gaze into a crystal ball and make predictions about which equipment will eventually meet the federal standards in the face of spiraling costs and threatened lawsuits in federal court.
The Election Assistance Commission has recognized the impossibility of this situation and stated it best in their Annual Reports for 2003 and 2004: “The implications of these delays are likely to include continued problems with election equipment; other unresolved election administration issues such as voter verifiable paper audit; and the likely inability of States and local election jurisdictions to meet HAVA requirements by statutory deadlines” and “Perhaps the most serious implication of the delayed EAC startup is the impact it will have on State procurement of new election equipment and the ability of some States and local election jurisdictions to meet HAVA requirements by statutory deadlines.”
We urge you to provide a temporary moratorium on federal agency enforcement of the deadlines in the Help America Vote Act. This will also send a message to the federal courts to give the states and counties breathing room to make wise decisions based on guidance from the EAC – as was the intent of HAVA.
County officials appreciate your attention to this urgent matter. If you have any questions, please ask your staff to contact Alysoun McLaughlin, Associate Legislative Director, at 202-942-4254 or firstname.lastname@example.org.