Thursday, February 28

Give Voting a Hand (Count)

Sean Flaherty from Iowans for Voting Integrity writes:

We are close to victory in the fight for paper ballot systems in Iowa, but we need your help on an equally important component of secure elections: random hand audits. Time is short, but there is still active discussion of audits this year.

Please call Secretary of State Michael Mauro and urge him to support legislation to require hand-count audits of the 2008 election Contact info: 515-281-0145 (Phone) 515-281-7142 (Fax) (E-mail) First Floor, Lucas Building 321 E. 12th St. Des Moines, IA 50319 .


Voter-marked paper ballots are the foundation of a reliable voting system. But paper ballots offer security only if we use them to check the software that reads the ballots and tallies our votes. And the computer voting systems we use in elections have grave vulnerabilities. Don't take our word for it, though. Here is a sample of what software experts say about security and the need for audits:

University of Iowa professor Douglas Jones, one of the world's experts on voting technology, stated in an affidavit in Pennsylvania court this year that hand counted audits are the only defense against weaknessess found by recent security reviews: "..the only effective defenses against the weaknesses discovered by the California TTBR [top-to-bottom review] and the Ohio EVEREST studies is the defense mandated by Pennsylvania law 25 P.S. 3013.7, a recount of a random sample of the ballots cast in an election."1 The Ohio and California reviews included all of the voting systems used in Iowa, including paper ballot/optical scan systems.

The Brennan Center's Task Force on Voting System Security wrote in 2006: "The value of paper ballots without the Automatic Routine Audits is highly questionable, " (p. 83).

Secretary Mauro supports post-election audits; it's a matter of getting it done this year. Please be sure to thank him for his support of paper ballot systems, but let him know that an election with no check on the software counting our votes is not an option in 2008.

Thank you for all you do.

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