Sunday, March 28, 2004

Paper, digital, court!

If paperless DRE voting machines were to attach a receipt printer, and a recount of votes recorded on the receipts differed from the count of digital votes, which count would determine the election outcome?

We guess that paper will always win in the eyes of the public.


Because votes recorded on paper are tangible and checked by the voter to ensure that they are recorded correctly.

Why would anybody ever rely on a digital ballot?

Clerks prefer paperless voting because it eliminates much of their work and most of their accountability.


Paper votes will always defeat digital votes in the eyes of the public.

We must keep elections out of the courts, where results are up for grabs.

Thursday, March 25, 2004


To avoid error, fraud and uncertainty, we support a voting system where (1) votes are recorded on anonymous full-ballot-text paper ballots that can be verified by the voter before they are cast, and (2) votes are counted/re-counted using a transparent and auditable process in which the public can verify that all recorded votes are counted correctly.

Q & A

Q 1. What do you believe is the most important thing, from a technological or an administrative standpoint, that election commissions in U.S. could implement to ensure that the voting process is as reliable and accurate as possible?

To ensure that the voting process is as reliable and accurate as possible States must guarantee voters a way to vote using a secret ballot that will be counted as the voter intends.

Mail ballot elections require voters to cast a non-secret ballot that may or may not be counted. Electronic voting machines require voters to forfeit the opportunity to verify that their ballot contains the votes that they intend and the public from the opportunity to verify that ballots are counted accurately.

These two voting methods should be disallowed in the interest of reliable and accurate elections.

Q 2. There seems to be a debate currently going about methods of balloting. Some experts advocate touch-screen voting because it provides greater accessibility, but some believe it is more liable to be corrupted by tampering by hacking or other methods. And then some advocate optical scan machines. What are your thoughts on this? What do you believe is the best method of balloting that is both reliable and accessible?

The most secure and accurate record of votes is a full-ballot-text paper ballot. It is verifiable before it is cast by the voter into the ballot box, it provides a stub and poll book audit trail, and it can be recounted using independent counting methods/teams.

The best way to record the votes on a paper ballot is to use a vote marking machine. These machines print votes on preprinted ballots. They permit the voter to verify that votes are recorded as intended and eliminate over votes and unintentional under votes, reduce legibility problems, and provide a way for handicapped voters to vote in private.

The most accurate way to count the votes on paper ballots is a combination of non-destructive optical scan coupled with independently counted samples. In this process ballots are scanned and the complete ballot image is permanently written to a write once memory. People and computer software can inspect and analyze the votes on each ballot image and create a record of how the votes on each ballot are interpreted. People and computer software can count the votes on the interpreted records. This multi-step process is transparent and verifiable.

Q 3. I have been finding in my research that there is some concern about, as we move into more high-tech methods of balloting, that some parts of administering elections such as programming would be done by private sector vendors. Some believe there could be potential of conflicts of interest since private sector vendors are profit-oriented. What are your thoughts on this?

In the current line of voting and vote counting products, we are very concerned with private sector equipment suppliers. Their code is secret, and nobody can verify what is actually happening. Consequently election results can be erroneous due to defects or rigging. In the processes that I described above, vote recording and vote counting are transparent and verifiable. Consequently, I have much less concern with secret software.

Tuesday, March 23, 2004

Hand marked, hand counted paper ballots are the standard

Voting equipment vendors and election officials are attempting to skip the most important step in their quest to sell voters on paperless voting systems.

Exactly how do these new systems measure up to the standard paper system?

Monday, March 15, 2004

California Libertarian Party Election Reform Resolution

To avoid fraud and manipulation, we oppose direct recording electronic voting systems that do not use a voter verified paper ballot as the ballot of count, recount, audit and record. We support a voting system that is open, transparent and auditable in which each individual can verify at the time of voting that his vote is correctly recorded and in which the public can verify that the votes were correctly counted.
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