Fair and honest elections are the foundation of all true democracies.
Ballot integrity requires an election system that is freely accessible to all citizens of voting age, fully transparent to public oversight and accurate in recording, counting and reporting election results.
We are deeply concerned about the ongoing campaign to turn our election system over to private corporations operating under trade secrets protections and Fourth Amendment privacy rights.
Repeated court decisions have held that computer voting machines and the software that record, count and report election results cannot be inspected by public election officials.
We are concerned that no computerized election system used in the past, or currently being installed, has ever met minimum government information technology security standards.
We are concerned that the election industry producing computerized voting equipment is essentially unregulated and lacks mandatory security standards.
We are concerned that the computerized voting systems being installed around the nation are subject to undetected and widespread manipulation by partisan supporters.
We are concerned about elimination of paper ballots, which provide an essential record of votes cast, should circumstances necessitate a ballot recount.
We are concerned about the disappearance of independently conducted election-day exit polls.
We are concerned that funding to N.I.S.T., the organization committed to the implementation of electronic voting machine security and industry standards, has reportedly been pulled.
We are concerned that the Secretaries of State of our nation have, in coordination with the Election Assistance Commission, at their annual conference in Washington , D.C. , determined to proceed with additional purchases of $2.3 billion more of these machines, with public HAVA funds, despite the fact that acceptable industry standards have not been put in place.
American election history has demonstrated the poor reliability of vote counting machines.
More serious than frequent accidental counting errors is the threat of intentional vote fraud.
Computer technology now makes possible massive vote fraud that is often undetectable.
American democracy will never be secure as long as votes are counted inside black box machines.
Due to the serious security problems inherent in any available computerized voting system, we believe that the only practical approach to ensuring the highest possible level of election integrity, is to return the nation to an election system consisting of paper ballots with legal vote status and publicly observed manual counts. This is the long-term goal of the Ballot Integrity Project.
Computerized voting machines producing a voter-verified paper ballot may be used in addition to , but not in lieu of, a manual parallel accounting control system .
In the short-term (November 2004), no election for all federal or state offices shall be conducted without a manual parallel accounting control system using paper ballots and public hand counts. (See pp 8-9 of Ballot Integrity Project Proposal dated 3/29/04 for a complete description of a suggested manual parallel accounting control system.)
Election systems requiring paper ballots and public hand counts are used in Canada , Germany and other nations with great effectiveness.
In the United States , approximately 2% of the polling places use paper ballots and hand counts. Results are tabulated in public view within a few hours.
To ensure the installation of a parallel election system (for federal and state offices) by the November 2004 General Election, we recommended the creation of an independent commission to rapidly design and coordinate with state election officials its implementation.
With the 2004 Presidential Elections already upon us, the implementation of the Ballot Integrity Project will afford the added advantage to election officials throughout the United States of simply allowing for the time it will naturally take for the electronic voting machine industry itself, and concerned officials and citizens, to see to the many problems surrounding the electronic aspects of the voting industry.
The Ballot Integrity Project's implementation, as “The 2004 Solution,” will afford the voters, officials, and states with the likely welcome opportunity to momentarily transcend the many technical, regulatory, proprietary, and conflicts of interest issues surrounding the electronic voting industry, at this juncture, and to simply see to fair elections.
I / We support the implementation of the Ballot Integrity Project for the November 2004 U.S. General Election as described in: “THE BALLOT INTEGRITY PROJECT , Proposal for the Creation of a National Task Force, by Citizens for Election Integrity, March 29, 2004.”