When we go to the polls in November to cast the precious vote that countless American men and women have sacrificed and died for, there are two possible outcomes:

1. A questionable, unauditable election that - regardless of the winner proclaimed -- leads to massive court challenges and tears the country even further apart.

2. An opportunity to begin mending a nation riven by partisanship and ready to re-unite in the face of unprecedented historic challenges.

As our elected representative, it is your sworn responsibility to avert a looming national crisis before it erupts. Which is why I am asking you, upon your return to Congress in September, to IMMEDIATELY introduce the Federal Paper Ballot Act, or legislation containing the following provisions to be effective for the November 2004 election:

(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.

Under such a measure, NO pre-election changes are needed in any counties that use any type of paper ballot. In counties that use lever machines and DREs, the two or three Federal races would be removed from the levers or DRE and placed on simple inexpensive paper ballots instead. THIS HAS BEEN DONE BEFORE, SUCCESSFULLY.

The country is now in the midst of a raging controversy surrounding electronic voting. The accuracy and verifiability of the machines is still in the experimental stage and very much in question. And a nation under attack cannot afford to experiment with democracy.

IF YOU FAIL TO ACT, THERE IS ONLY ONE GUARANTEED LOSER THIS ELECTION: THE AMERICAN PEOPLE.