Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Audit trail bills deceive voters - ignore problems

The “audit trail” bills are intended to deceive voters into believing that they are verifying the votes that will decide an election. This is not what these bills do.

Instead, voters would be verifying a secondary document that: (1) does not necessarily reflect the voter’s choices, (2) is printed in a form that is excessively difficult for voters to verify and costly for officials to use for independent counting and (3) is not the official ballot and will rarely be counted.

The fundamental requirement is this: each voter must be able to verify that their real votes that will be used to determine the election outcome are recorded as the voter intends and must be able to obtain a replacement ballot if they are not. (There are additional requirements such as: recorded votes must be permanent, every ballot must be secure and accounted for, and the interpretation of votes must be unambiguous, but these requirements are not documented here.)

We continue to ask for the following:

Trustworthy Elections Resolution

WHEREAS trustworthy elections are basic to democracy,

WHEREAS trustworthy elections require that each vote is anonymous, secure, verified by the voter and counted as intended by the voter,

WHEREAS paperless voting machines make it impossible for us to verify that our votes are correctly recorded,

WHEREAS paperless voting machines make it impossible to prove that each vote is correctly counted,

WHEREAS a receipt printer on a paperless voting machine would not solve these problems because the votes printed on the receipt can be different from the votes stored in the machine, and because votes on the receipts would rarely be counted,

WHEREAS accurate re-counting requires that the votes on the original paper ballots be examined and counted, and that the results from a previous count are not known to the people doing the re-counting,

WHEREAS failure to conduct trustworthy elections opens the door to undetectable errors and fraud and destroys voter confidence,

THEREFORE, we voters want to hand mark or machine mark our votes onto full-ballot-text paper ballots, to check our votes before we cast them, to know that the votes on our paper ballot are what get counted, and to have access to proof that every ballot is accounted for and that every vote is correctly understood and counted.