Federal Paper Ballot Emergency Act of 2004 (proposed legislation)

(1) All votes for Federal offices President, Vice President, U.S. Senators, and U.S. Representatives shall be cast on paper ballots for the November 2004 general election.

(2) All such votes cast on November 2, 2004 shall be hand counted in public view from the original ballots at the polling places where the votes were cast, and the manual count shall constitute the official count of the votes.

(3) Hand-counted, polling place totals for all Federal offices shall be prominently posted at the polling places before the ballots are transported to the central facility.

(4) In any jurisdiction where votes for Federal office are cast on punch card or optical scan ballots and also counted by machine, the machine totals for Federal offices shall also be prominently posted at the location where the votes are machine-counted.

(5) All absentee votes and early voting votes for Federal offices shall be cast on paper and hand counted in public view from the original ballots at a predetermined, publicly-announced place and time, and the totals shall be prominently posted at the central election office immediately on completion of the counting.

(6) Precinct results shall be tallied manually or using off-the-shelf products, such as calculators or standard spreadsheets.

Another questionable federal election is certain to precipitate a national crisis, regardless of who are declared the winners. If electronic equipment is used to record and count the votes for federal offices, there WILL BE a questionable election.

Lawsuits will abound in every key state, the delays will raise tension beyond the breaking point, millions of citizens will object to the final outcome, and the new President and Congress will not have the unified support of the country. There is a solution: All votes for federal offices must be cast on paper and counted by hand.

It is the responsibility of Congress to do whatever is possible to avert a national crisis. This is possible. This will avert the crisis. Nothing else will.

Hand counting two or three votes would take less than four hours in most precincts, and could potentially save the county hundreds of hours and enormous expense defending themselves in court or confirming results by doing full recounts.

In precincts with paper ballots, no material changes are required.

In paperless precincts, federal offices could be removed from the electronic or lever ballot, and a simple paper ballot could be used for the two or three federal votes. The cost will be minimal.

A combination of electronic and paper ballots was used without problems in Pompano Beach, Florida in March 2004. If it can be done for a wordy ballot, it certainly can be done to avoid a national crisis.