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Only a Transparent Vote-Counting System Can Protect Democracy

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Wilms Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Feb-11-09 10:10 AM
Original message
Only a Transparent Vote-Counting System Can Protect Democracy
Edited on Wed Feb-11-09 10:22 AM by Wilms


Only a Transparent Vote-Counting System Can Protect Democracy

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Democracy (demos = people, kratos = rule) requires that all citizens have equal access to power. In order for citizens to retain control over government created for their benefit, regular people must be able to observe, understand and safeguard every aspect of the process by which government is chosen. In New York, both our manual paper ballot and lever-count voting system have provided full transparency, enabling the election results to be 100% knowable.

Currently, throughout the State, over 327,000 election officials and watchers collectively witness the vote counting process from the moment error or fraud can intervene, until the count is completed. That count must be verified and concluded on election night. The reason for this is election security. For as long as we've been a state, New York has forbidden post-election recounts of paper ballots because experience teaches that once the ballots leave the public view, the possibilities for fraud are too great to sufficiently prevent.

Professor Bryan Pfaffenberger, who received a Scholar's Award from the National Science Foundation to study the history of lever voting machines, wrote:
    In my analysis, the lever machine deserves recognition as one of the most astonishing achievements of American technological genius, a fact that is reflected in their continued competitiveness against recent voting technologies in every accepted performance measure. .... Today, there are widespread calls to bring paper back into the picture, but the reason is that people do not trust the machines. ....

    Having studied the history, I strongly believe that there would be no such call for paper if the ugly history of fraudulent practices enabled by paper ballots were known. .... In New York, the people, in their wisdom, created a system of election administration AND a technology that solved the characteristic problems of American elections; to abandon lever machines for new technologies that will not gain voter confidence and, at the same time, re-introduce paper audit trails or paper ballots which have long proven to be prone to election fraud, amounts in my opinion to a potentially disastrous mistake.
It is New Yorks history of election fraud that required paper ballots to be counted openly and publicly in order to best deter such fraud. If we are to return to a paper ballot system, we must count the ballots openly and publicly -- and not adjourn until the count is completed. Our history and our constitutional system of government require no less. If we are to use machines to count our votes, then the way the machine is programmed to count must be open and observable before and after the election -- and must not be subject to change during the election. Only the immutable operation of the lever machine permits this transparency and reliability.

~snip~

Certifying the software system does not make concealed vote counting secure. This is the assessment of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) the same experts who advise the US Election Assistance Commission on the writing of the very federal voting system standards to which New York is trying to adhere! NIST has already rejected certification as the panacea the State Board of Elections, NYVV and LWV are representing it will be, finding that:

"Testing to high degrees of security and reliability is from a practical perspective not possible."

It is solely because the software-based voting machines are so deficient, that New York is following a path that ignores the lessons of its history by relying on post-election audits and recounts of paper ballots that are also vulnerable to tampering.

~snip~

New York added accessible ballot marking devices (BMDs) to its lever voting system in 2008, resulting in a HAVA-compliant voting system. However, as the well respected election integrity organization, Voters Unite, has noted: todays accessible voting machines have failed to fulfill the promise of HAVA across the nation. We must now strive to improve New Yorks accessible devices so they truly enable citizens with special needs to vote independently. By retaining our lever voting system, augmented with non-tabulating BMDs and election night hand counts of accessible paper ballots, New York can continue to have the best of both worlds. And the most affordable.

~snip~

http://re-mediaetc.blogspot.com/2009/02/only-transparen...
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tbyg52 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Feb-11-09 05:13 PM
Response to Original message
1. >>Certifying the software system does not make concealed vote counting secure.
Absolutely. I don't give a hoot what they "certify."
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WillYourVoteBCounted Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Feb-11-09 06:47 PM
Response to Original message
2. nice as$
logo in the OP.
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Bill Bored Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Feb-11-09 11:03 PM
Response to Reply #2
3. Is that good? How about some more recs then! nt
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WillYourVoteBCounted Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-12-09 12:07 AM
Response to Reply #3
4. sorry but
there's only one of me, limiting my ability to recommend more than once.

:fistbump:
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