House GOPers Defeat Back-up Paper Ballot Bill

A bill that would have reimbursed local governments for printing back-up paper ballots for the 2008 presidential election died in the House Tuesday, when Republicans blocked suspending the rules to bring up the legislation.

The bill, which would have provided $75 million to pay for the ballots, was sponsored by Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D‑CA). It required a two-thirds vote to pass. The vote of 248-170 fell short of that.

The measure was an attempt to reimburse localities that pre-printed paper ballots in case electronic voting machines failed on Election Day. The White House opposed the bill.

The bill was similar to a proposal, which also died earlier this year, by Rep. Rush Holt, (D-NJ) that also would have paid for back-up paper ballots.

Holt praised the House Administration Committee for bringing up the bill, which did not appear to have the full support of the House's Democratic leadership.

"Increasing the availability of paper ballots... is only one of the steps that we must take in order to address the documented problems faced by voters and by election officials," Holt said. "During each election in recent years cynicism has grown among voters."

More than one-quarter of the country will be using paperless electronic voting machines in 40,000 precincts across 14 states in November.

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