Is Election Transparency a Partisan Issue?
That's what some members have either implied or outright stated when discussing the future of HR 550 with our team of lobbyists-for-a-day. Staff members for Rep. Jim Walsh (R-NY) called HR 550 a "partisan bill" and, in any event, that the "pro-computer lobby" had been pressing Walsh's office on the issue as well. Walsh wasn't the only Republican who cited partisan considerations. On the other side of the aisle, Rep. Juanita Millender-McDonald (D-MI), ranking Democrat on the Committee on House Administration also expressed doubts about whether the bill could advance in a Republican-controlled Congress. This reaction wasn't widespread (at least publicly), but neither was it rare.
On the other hand, Republicans today proved to be some of the most fertile ground. Our team from Kentucky noted that a "lightbulb went off" with staffers for Rep. Ron Lewis (R-KY) who were interested in the subject matter and were considering some of the provisions for the first time. And Rep. Vito Fossella (R-NY), while not committing his support, proved to be very concerned about the widespread problems presented by the use of closed, proprietary software in voting equipment.
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