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Election Experts Release Ballot Accounting Checklist for 2008 Election

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Wilms Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-04-08 02:13 AM
Original message

Election Experts Release Ballot Accounting Checklist for 2008 Election

24-Step Checklist Offers Ballot Counting Standards after Multiple Primary Miscounts

Press Releases


Contact: Tim Bradley, BerlinRosen Public Affairs, (646) 452-5637


New York In light of startling miscounts and vote losses in recent primaries in Florida, Ohio and Washington, D.C., today the Brennan Center for Justice, joined by Verified Voting and Common Cause, urged election officials across the country to practice smart, transparent ballot accounting in order to tally votes accurately and maintain public confidence in the 2008 election results. With the contributions of election officials, election administration experts and computer scientists, the Brennan Center also disseminated a "Checklist for Best Ballot Accounting Practices" that precincts and counties can follow both before polls open and after they close.


"These recommendations represent a minimum of what elections officials should do to account for all ballots and votes cast on Election Day. Election officials should also establish similar procedures for early and absentee ballots," Smith added.

The "Ballot Accounting Checklist" includes the following action items:
    * Compare the total number of votes cast to the total number of voters who signed in at the polling place. For both regular and emergency paper ballots, compare the number of voted, spoiled, and unused paper ballots with the number of ballots sent to the polling place.

    * Compare digital vote tallies from voting machines to vote total tapes.

    * Compare electronic tally server totals to vote total tapes generated from each voting machine.

    * Publish results of ballot, machine total, and memory card reconciliations.

Full Report: (.pdf) /

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Peace Patriot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-04-08 03:03 AM
Response to Original message
1. Ah, God, the Brennan Center! Talk about "lipstick on a pig"!
They and Common Cause have been putting lipstick, eye shadow, mascara, tattos, nose rings and wads and wads of pancake makeup on this pig ('TRADE SECRET,' PROPRIETARY programming code, owned and controlled by Bushwhack corporations, with virtually no audit/recount controls, fast-tracked all over the country with a $3.9 BILLION e-voting boondoggle), for some years now, and guess what?....

It's still a pig.

Do all the comparisons and reconciliations you want, half the voting systems in the country have no ballot at all--nothing to count, no audit possible--and the other half DON'T COUNT 99% of the ballots (1% is a miserably inadequate audit in a 'TRADE SECRET' code system controlled by Bushwhacks!). And the Corpo/fascist 'news' monopolies are gearing up their system, to DOCTOR the exit polls to force them to match the results of Diebold & brethren's "TRADE SECRET' formulas. The Associated Pukes are on the case...

I'm not saying don't have a Peasants' Rebellion and demand all the comparisons and reconciliations you can squeeze out of this election theft system. I would never say that. I'm just always amazed at how off-point, blurry and corporatist the Brennan Center and Common Cause are, on the bottom-line requirement of democracy: TRANSPARENT VOTE COUNTING.
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tbyg52 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-04-08 10:03 AM
Response to Reply #1
2. Really. Discussing how to make those paperless wonders reliable (heck, even when they have paper)
Is about like discussing how to make Paulson's 3-page grab palatable and effective. Can't be done; go back to square one.
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Wilms Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-04-08 10:36 AM
Response to Reply #2
3. Square one being what?
Lever machines are an option in NY State. I'll assume it's over for them elsewhere. Then there are HCPB. Are we seeing that being instituted anywhere? And what is the idea for securing HCPB? There are a lot of precincts in this country where a warm, fuzzy, Rockwell nostalgic-invoking Dem vote would be jogging in Central Park past midnight.

Meanwhile, do we advocate the status quo? Do we consider that these measure are capable of catching the machines screwing up, leading, perhaps, toward a more secure environment?

The list above is only so different from what Shelley, Bowen, and in some cases Brunner, among others, recommend.

Brennan Center, et. al., for all their timidity, chose to make these recommendations rather than saying nothing.

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tbyg52 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-04-08 10:54 AM
Response to Reply #3
4. Yeah, I know, and I'm not for the status quo.
But I do think the first step is to make a commitment to chucking the DREs. Thus the fact that any mention of a "fix" makes me nervous.

I've always kinda liked the lever machines - no paper, but very hard to rig, from what I read. And it is mechanical, so you can actually *see* what is happening (unlike the DRES). Not that I think we'll all get them.
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Wilms Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-04-08 11:08 AM
Response to Reply #4
5. The DREs ARE being tossed.

Measures like these are part of the recognition that DREs must go, and optical scan is only so much better.

And these same measures are along the line of what would be important to do even if hand counting.

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tbyg52 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-04-08 11:17 AM
Response to Reply #5
6. OK. nt
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Bill Bored Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-11-08 09:25 PM
Response to Original message
7. Good stuff. In particular, the county-level section.
Edited on Sat Oct-11-08 10:02 PM by Bill Bored
Look, we hear over and over again on this forum and elsewhere that elections are being stolen via "central tabulators." (Very scary.) And of course exit polls will tell us everything we need to know about that, if only they'd just release that confidential "RAW DATA." (BULLSHIT!)

But this checklist not only distinguishes between the term "central tabulator" (used to describe a central-count optical scanner), and "electronic tally server" (used to describe the central tabulator software of the Election Management System -- that's the one where all the elections are being stolen), but it actually shows how to tell if the election is being stolen, and what to do about it. That's a good thing!

Now, I agree with Wilms that these folks are a bit timid at times. They should be speaking a lot more truth to a lot more powers. They should be rallying the troops to fix this problem. They should be less technology-neutral, less obsequious toward certain members of Congress who thus far have failed to get the job done, and they should stop promoting certain types of post-election audit protocols that have been demonstrated NOT to work very well.

But in the case of this particular document, they are absolutely right about the procedures that ought to be followed in any election.

Now if we could only get them to kick some ass and work with the torches and pitchforks crowd to actually get something done, we might have something!

PS -- Elections can still be stolen in other ways such as hacking the ballot definition programming. This won't fix that. But it's a damn good start and it doesn't require another version of HAVA or billions of dollars to make it happen.
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