For Immediate Release
Chicago, August 25, 2003

The Communications Workers of America (a labor union affiliated with the AFL-CIO) passed the following resolution today at its annual meeting:

In Support of Proper Voting Equipment

Fair and honest elections are necessary if democracy is to flourish in our country.  The disastrous election process in 2000 raised serious doubts about the integrity of our elections and prompted the passage of the Help America Vote Act (HAVA).  HAVA mandates the upgrading of election machinery in time for the general election in 2006.  Current law dictates replacement of the disastrous punch card systems, and mechanical lever machines with computerized vote counting devices.

New vote counting systems include "mark sense" equipment which uses paper ballots counted by scanners and various electronic technologies such as "touch screens" and the "direct recording electronic" system (DRE) that use electronic memory to record votes.  The early models of "touch screen" and DRE have no physical record to audit.  Without a physical record to audit, it is impossible to discover if the equipment is recording the voter's choice correctly.

DREs and touch screens can be modified with a printer that would produce a paper ballot that the voter could review before the ballot is cast.  When the "cast ballot" button is pushed the paper would drop into an internal, sealed container, which could be opened for any subsequent audit.

RESOLVED: That the Communications Workers of America endorse and support the use of only DRE and "touch screen" machines with the ability to provide the voter with a view of a paper ballot that is stored and available for audits.

RESOLVED: The Communications Workers of America will communicate the need for auditable paper ballot trails to the AFL-CIO, its affiliated unions, and other civic minded organizations that the officers of CWA deem appropriate.

Explanation --  This resolution endorses the use of only DRE and touch screen voting systems that provide a voter verified paper ballot.  The optical scanning (mark-sense) systems have a paper ballot available for recount, so these are also covered by the resolution.

Contacts --  Lou Gerber (202/434-1315) and Richard Wagner (917/672-9568).