Black and Hispanic lawmakers are infuriated by Tuesday’s Supreme Court decision striking down a key provision of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, calling it a huge setback for the political rights — and influence — of minority voters. These minority lawmakers believe there eventually could be an effort by Republican-controlled legislatures in some Southern states to challenge majority-minority congressional districts, threatening the power of African-Americans, Hispanic and minority lawmakers. Democratic leaders and rank-and-file members also see little chance that the current Congress — with its deep partisan divisions and GOP-controlled House — will do anything to address the high court’s ruling or the concerns of minority groups nationwide. “Today, an activist Supreme Court cynically legislating from the bench in Jim Crow style, engaged in an historic overreach, ignoring their own precedents and disregarding clear and convincing evidence of ongoing discrimination at the polls,” declared Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Ga.).
Reports of serious errors occurring Election Day in electronic-voting machines in Fulton County demonstrate the urgency of passing legislation to verify the accuracy of our voting systems. Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp called Fulton County’s election administration a “debacle,” noting that this is yet another example of “the constant and systemic nature of election failures in Fulton County.” During this summer’s primary elections, several Fulton County precincts also reported a substantial disparity between registered voters and ballots. Voting-machine errors resulted in voter turnouts that exceeded 100 percent in some precincts. This figure is astronomical when compared to the statewide turnout that averaged between 10 and 20 percent. But one precinct had an impossible turnout of 23,300 percent. These kinds of problems with voting machines are precisely why I introduced H.R. 6246, the Verifying Official Totals for Elections (VOTE) Act. Not only does it improve our confidence in election data through transparency and accountability, more importantly, it assures accuracy.
Congressman Hank Johnson (GA-04, which includes parts of Tucker) has introduced the bipartisan Verifying Official Totals for Elections or VOTE Act, H.R. 6246, which would require jurisdictions using electronic voting machines for federal elections to deposit the software or source code in the National Software Reference Library at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). In the case of a contested election and or recount, the VOTE Act would allow qualified persons to review the source code to ensure its accuracy and reliability.