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Hand-counted paper ballots: the 21st century solution to stolen elections

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Fly by night Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-02-10 12:18 PM
Original message
Hand-counted paper ballots: the 21st century solution to stolen elections
Edited on Tue Nov-02-10 12:21 PM by Fly by night
Today, in states that continue to use DREs to conduct their elections, voters will wait for hours to vote when it should only take them minutes. (DREs are 10-15 times slower to complete the voting process than a paper ballots/optical scan process.) Their counties will continue to pay 40-50% more to conduct elections on DREs than on paper ballots/opscan (according to studies in Florida and North Carolina). AND, at the end of the day, voters who voted on DREs will continue to have to accept the "trust us" statements issued by Cheshire Cat-grinning reich-wing dominionists who own the voting machine companies. Anyone who continues to argue that we must continue to use unverifiable, proprietary voting machines to measure the "consent of the governed" in any democracy is continuing to pull a con to try to rob us once again.

Having worked to do away with DREs in Tennessee (and everywhere else) for the past six years, I have begrudgingly supported a switch to paper ballots counted by optical scan machines and then re-counted manually in randomly selected precincts to verify the accuracy and honesty of the opscans. Today, I have another idea.

Let's take ALL proprietary voting equipment out of our elections (as many other countries are now doing). Let's vote on paper ballots that are hand-counted by high school Honor Society members who are paid with pizzas and cold drinks AND for the honor of announcing what the "consent of the governed" truly is in their precincts.

It would greatly lower election costs, increase trust in our elections AND very likely increase the participation in elections by young people -- historically the age-group with the lowest turnout.

I was honored to meet Andy Stephenson at the 2005 National Election Reform Conference held in Nashville. Andy was right then to promote hand-counted paper ballots.

He is still right today (may the Goddess rest his soul.)

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donco6 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-02-10 12:32 PM
Response to Original message
1. Not that I favor electronic machines, but have you ever hand-counted votes?
I have. It's very, very difficult. There are multiple transfers of lists - the tally from the individual ballot, then the ballot batch, then the tally of the collected batches, then precinct tallies, then total tallies. We compared the hand tallies to the machine tallies in an audit, and the hand tallies were much more error-prone than the hand scanners. So hand-counting is not necessarily the panacea people think.

Are they more verifiable - sure. Which should be the focus. When we audit the results of the hand scanning, I believe it created a very good paper trail that could be tracked back to an individual vote pretty easily.
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Fly by night Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-02-10 12:40 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. Yes.
Edited on Tue Nov-02-10 12:46 PM by Fly by night
Clearly the procedures used to conduct elections on hand-counted paper ballots would need to be well thought out to reduce unnecessary delays. For example, paper ballots that are designed to be read by opscans look very different from those that should be used to conduct a completely hand-counted election process.

DREs were touted as the "easy" solution. It turns out they were neither easier, cheaper nor faster. What they were was unverifiable.

Beside, democracy wasn't meant to be easy. It was meant to place the power in the hands of the people, not in the hands of reich-wing dominionists, where it lies today.

Thanks for your comment. Much appreciated.
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Bill Bored Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-02-10 01:33 PM
Response to Original message
3. K&R, but if I were you, I'd post this in Election Reform and ask for Recs here in GD. nt
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felix_numinous Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-02-10 03:53 PM
Response to Original message
4. The punch cards were doing fine
before they were sabotaged in 2000 election, by someone who replaced the special paper, Did you see Dan Rather's documentary where he interviewed the people in the small town business in charge of quality control of the paper ballots? It is a must-see!
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Fly by night Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-02-10 05:23 PM
Response to Reply #4
5. Yes, that Dan Rather special was excellent.
It made it very clear that the Rethugs had gamed each and every part of that election, right down to insuring that defective punch cards would be manufactured, approved (over the objections of the manufacturing company's staff) and shipped to Rethug-friendly Florida counties where (surprise, surprise!) they were problematic.

In Tennessee, we had a number of counties using punch-cards. They were the most reluctant (along with the lever machine counties) to give them up as they were told (erroneaously, it turns out) they were required to do by HAVA.

The rest is history, in Florida, Tennessee and all across this once-great democracy.
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Crystal Clarity Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-02-10 05:33 PM
Response to Original message
6. My town still uses paper ballots and hand counting of votes
We vote, then slip our ballots into a slot in a box as we exit. It's the same for a majority of towns around here. :-)
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Fly by night Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-02-10 06:07 PM
Response to Reply #6
7. There's a lot to be said for New Englanders, including their unflinching understanding of democracy.
You're a very lucky person. Hopefully we can all follow your lead someday soon.
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truedelphi Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-03-10 02:47 AM
Response to Reply #6
9. We use paper ballots here in Lake County Calif.
It is really pleasant to vote in this county.
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Kurovski Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-02-10 08:25 PM
Response to Original message
8. Kick. (nt)
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