Dear readers and friends:
I am responding to an article written by the Christian Science Monitor, titled "Return to Hand-Counted Paper Ballots? Not so Fast" posted here to Opednews. http://www.opednews.com/maxwrite/link.php?id=62588
Previously, I served on an election reform think tank alongside election reform expert Victoria Collier, whose work has been praised by Bev Harris, in a statement from Bev's own mouth saying that "it takes my breath away." You can read Bev Harris’s interview with Victoria here and Bev’s high praise along with it:
Alongside three computer programmers who served on the forum with Victoria Collier, one of whom is also a Democratic election official, I learned the following facts about computerized elections and hand counted paper ballots, each alike:
A) ASSUMPTIONS ABOUT HAND-COUNTED PAPER BALLOTS
They take too long to count. Too many mistakes.
TRUE FACT: Canada hand-counts its paper ballots in four hours, says Victoria Collier, and with very few mistakes.
B) ABOUT COMPUTERIZED PAPER PRINT-OUTS
This is one of the most misleading matters leading to the public’s false sense of security. Consider:
All three computer programmers on the Forum, plus more programmers' opinions that I read on Moveon.org's forum (since closed), agreed unanimously that it is "easy" to simply misalign the computer's mechanism with the pushbuttons on the screen.
Thus, if one pushed the button for OBama, the paper trail would accurately reflect the OBama vote. However, secretly inside the black box of the computer----from which the vote is counted-----the vote would secretly be cast for McCain. Computers can "easily" be programmed to do this...ten percent of the time, five percent, two percent....as one wishes.
Recounts of the paper trail? Forget about it. It will never happen. The reason is simple: It costs too much. Depending on the size of the precinct, each area may charge anywhere upward of $5,000 per precinct, graduating up to $20,000 apiece or much more. Multiply that by the number of precincts, county-wide and nation-wide, and you get the picture.
Thus, it becomes apparent that it is not recounts, but accurate and transparent votes to begin with, which we should be relying on for a fair election.
The false sense of security on the part of the public, in holding a piece of paper in their hand which accurately shows their vote, is the very thing which could help to steal the election. Because when the public sees that their vote was “accurately” cast---at least according to the so-called paper “Trail”---then there would be little or no questioning the falsification of the vote which actually did, would and usually does occur, inside the computer’s black box. Based on that false sense of security, people would not be inclined to step forward, believing all was fair and square, based on the paper “Record” of their “Vote”. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth!
C) Isn't it just slightly suspicious that it is computer programmers, who are paid, and not transparent paper systems, that we are relying on for counting our votes? Check out Bev Harris's website www.blackboxvoting.org (not .com, which is a different entity): You can see video footage of her wrestling on the floor with computer programmers, who had garbaged shredded computer print-outs, every one of which was election print-out material.
In actual fact, I can tell you of people I know who have said they personally have watched the figures on the computer jump---for the wrong vote.