Act Now! – Oppose H.B. 5903 – Protect Soldiers’ Votes

The Government Administration and Elections Committee (GAE) has passed a bill that will threaten the security and privacy of military absentee votes, H.B. 5903

And it could be expensive!

It sounds good but, in addition to CTVotersCount, it is opposed by computer scientists, TrueVoteCT members, and Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz.

NOW is a critical time. The bill will soon be before the full CT House and Senate.

Call or email your State Senator and Representative NOW. Tell them you want to preserve the security and privacy of military votes.

Find your CT Senator and Representative: http://www.cga.ct.gov/maps/Townlist.asp

From the testimony of Susan Bysiewicz,Secretary of the State

This bill serves a noble purpose…After repeated attempts to initiate a secure online voting system, members of the original DOD peer review panel found a number of security risks. Further, I their June 2007 elections report, the United States Government Accountability Office stated that the federal government has not yet developed sufficient absentee voting guidelines for this kind of use.

Until an internet system is designed to safeguard against security risks, I have proposed extending the timeframe by which military personnel can obtain a blank ballot from 90 days before the election to the first business [sic] of the calendar year of the election. In addition, I propose that Connecticut allow the electronic transmission of absentee ballot applications and blank ballots. These simple steps would greatly extend voting opportunities for members of the Armed Forces without posing additional security risks.

Here is the bill: <read>

What are the problems with H.B. 5903?

  • It will threaten the privacy and security of soldiers’ votes.
  • Any threat to the private vote threatens everyone’s votes and Democracy.
  • It may be costly, perhaps several million $ in start-up costs and $500 per vote cast.

There has been a strong coordinated move to pass such bills in many legislatures across the country. So far few states have been taken in. However, in Connecticut this bill passed the Government Elections and Administration Committee without discussion, unanimously. We assume, because it sounds good and has the claim of helping our military.

Even though the Office of Fiscal Analysis says it will have no costs to the State or municipalities, it is hard to believe that the Secretary of the State could create regulations to accomplishes this without a great deal of expensive research and implementation costs, when computer scientists are skeptical that it is possible and believe it is risky to military voters and the rest of us as well. Vendors are proposing accomplishing this in other states at great costs such as $4,000,000 start-tup costs and $100,000 per county annually.

Connecticut has a problem with facilitating overseas military voting, however, Minnesota has already solved the same problems we have without resorting to the unnecessary risks and costs of this bill. In fact, the improvements in Minnesota have been cited by a veterans group: <read>

Here is the Technologists’ Statement On Internet Voting: <read>

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