Last night, my family, colleagues, and I gathered to watch the results of the midterm election.
But it was difficult to keep our attention on the returns, with calls about polling place disasters pouring into our hotline and reports of voting machine problems hitting the airwaves.
2006 is the third election in a row shadowed by questions about the integrity of voting machines. WE CANNOT LET THIS HAPPEN AGAIN.
The nation's attention is focused on this issue, and now is the time to restore credibility to our broken election system. The Senate needs to "Get It Straight by 2008" and make sure all voting machines have a paper trail that voters can trust.
This was a historic election, but we know there are still major flaws in the way we vote. We saw serious problems with electronic voting yesterday in Virginia and Montana, where the control of the Senate still hinges on two close races.
- In Virginia, there were numerous stories of voting machines switching candidate names.
- In Montana, an electronic vote counting device was set incorrectly, a mistake that could have caused 3,000 votes to have been counted twice, possibly changing the outcome of the election.
Prevention is the best medicine. It's not enough to deal with the problems of 2006 - though we are working tirelessly to do so - we have to make sure this NEVER HAPPENS AGAIN.
A bill of this kind has already been introduced in the House - with 220 cosponsors already signed on, it should sail through. A well-timed push that builds on last night's momentum can force the Senate's hand as well.
But if we don't do something now, while the issue is "hot", our leaders could sweep this under the rug for another two years. Now is the time to act!
Your action means all Americans will wake up the morning after the next election to the thrill of victory and frustration of defeat, without stomach-churning concerns about trickery and fraud.
That's one result all Americans will cheer.
Chellie Pingree, President
P.S. At 6:00 p.m. EST today, I will be speaking about voting machines on ‘Lou Dobbs Tonight’ on CNN – be sure to watch!