Electronic Voting 2004 Action of Immediate Witness

WHEREAS the Unitarian Universalist Association’s fifth Principle affirms the use of the democratic process in society at large;

WHEREAS democracy depends on fairly counted votes and public confidence that votes have been fairly counted;

WHEREAS an estimated thirty percent of those voting in November 2004 will use the new Direct Recording Electronic voting machines (DREs) that remove ballot recording and vote counting from public oversight, contrary to democratic principles;

WHEREAS state and local boards of election often have neither the means to independently audit the computer systems they use nor the financial or technical resources for doing so;

WHEREAS lack of an independent audit means that voters must accept election tallies for which there can be no independent recount, even after malfunction, crash, lost ballots, highly suspicious results, or machines that will not register votes for some candidates or that fail to show some contests;

WHEREAS smaller manufacturers are offering certified voting systems that produce voter-verifiable paper ballots, and certified, free, open-source software for voting systems is expected to be available by 2005;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED by the 2004 General Assembly of the Unitarian Universalist Association that Unitarian Universalists should work for state and federal laws that require electronic voting systems to produce a voter-verified paper audit trail (VVPAT). A VVPAT is an unalterable paper record of each ballot that the voter can verify before leaving the booth. It is kept in a secure ballot box and used only for conducting independent audits and recounts.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the 2004 General Assembly endorses the Voter Confidence and Increased Accessibility Act of 2003, introduced in the United States Senate by Sen. Bob Graham (S. 1980) and in the United States House of Representatives by Rep. Rush Holt (H.R. 2239). This bill would require VVPAT and accessibility for persons with disabilities and would ban electronic voting systems that employ wireless technology.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that Unitarian Universalists should work for additional state and federal laws that require voting machines and verification mechanisms to be accessible to persons with physical disabilities.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that Unitarian Universalist congregations are encouraged to inform legislators and state and local election officials about the problems associated with electronic voting systems and about accessible and more secure alternatives.

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED that the UUA Office for Advocacy and Witness should keep congregations informed on this issue and legislation addressing it so that Unitarian Universalists may share their concerns with their elected officials.