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The Circular Firing Squad of the Election Integrity Movement

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The Circular Firing Squad of the Election Integrity Movement Battles over the FIVE METHODS to Verify Election Outcomes

CAN WE STOP THE CIRCULAR FIRING SQUAD of election integrity activists long enough to achieve election outcome integrity by the 2008 election?

The election integrity movement has been a circular firing squad ever since July 2004 when I first began devoting time to it. At the first conference I attended, before I even spoke, I sat down with Lynn
Landes who immediately berated me for using math and exit polls to evaluate election integrity and who later attacked my work on her web site and then subsequently plagiarized it, reposting some of my work with minor changes and without acknowledgement. This behavior on the part of several activists has been repeated over and over again. It seems that they glance at the work, don't understand it at first, attack it, and after reading it later, slightly restate and claim that it is their own.

VoteTrustUSA, when it began, advertised its affiliation with the National Election Data Archive on its home page, using our good name to garner support, while simultaneously refusing to allow me to
participate in any of its email discussion groups. VoteTrustUSA has consistently refused to mention any of my work for ensuring that election outcomes are correct that has taken me considerable amount of
time, but they often follow my work within days or weeks by lengthy articles by their own favorite statistician describing equivalent work, often with slight changes.

A few days ago I emailed a board member who moderates the Open Voting Consortium (OVC) discussion list to express my concerns about his apparent encouragement of plagiarism and also expressed my fundamental
disagreements with some of their positions. By return email, I was summarily removed from their list and told it was because I cc'd Bev Harris, Doug Jones, David Mertz, and David Dill. The disagreements
that I expressed were:

1. OVC's President Alan Dechert, in a recent conversation, told me that he has been meeting with US Congressional Members and encouraging them not to pass any federal election integrity legislation. In my opinion, federal legislation mandating routine election outcome verification via manual vote counting with public oversight is vital to the continuation of American democracy in an electronic age.

2. OVC's current position is for each voting booth to have a computer ballot printing or a computer ballot marking voting device. In my
opinion, paper ballots which are cast by machines would mean that printing errors on ballots could be overlooked even if voters visually check ballot accuracy before depositing them in a ballot box.
Able-bodied voters should be encouraged to caste their votes directly on paper ballots so that there is no possibility that any errors were the fault of improper configuration or programming. A computer is a ridiculous waste of money for an activity that takes an able-bodied person ten minutes once a year.

3. The OVC has not adopted a position in favor of manual counts of voter verifiable paper ballot records (or audits). When OVC's President Dechert recently addressed California's County Election
Directors none of his presentation materials mentioned manual audits/counts of VVPR (voter verifiable paper records of ballots). As we all know, having VVPRs (voter verifiable paper ballot records) with every voting system is meaningless showmanship unless there are sufficient routine manual counts, transparency, and citizen oversight.


I appreciate the commendable work of the Open Voting Consortium to design and promote more trustworthy, secure, accountable, accurate,less costly electronic voting systems and devise methods to ensure that any person responsible for vote miscount or vote fraud might be held accountable. While everything that the OVC is doing would make the voting system more efficient and trustworthy, efficiency and
accountability do not translate into accurate elections results unless there are routine manual counts of VVPRs (or audits).

On the other side of the circular firing squad are the persons calling themselves HCPBs (Hand Counted Paper Ballot Only Supporters) who want to scrap all electronic voting machines and return to 100% hand counts on the night of the election. Many in this group vociferously attack and mischaracterize any other solution that could ensure the accuracy of election outcomes.

CAN WE STOP THE CIRCULAR FIRING SQUAD of election integrity activists long enough to achieve election outcome integrity by the 2008 election?

It is a mathematically provable fact that there are five separate ways of using manual counts of VVPRs along with citizen oversight to verify the accuracy and integrity of election outcomes. They are:

1. 100% Hand counts of 100% of all vote counts

2. 100% hand counts of sufficient numbers of randomly selected vote counts Exact Program

3. 100% hand counts of sufficient numbers of randomly selected vote counts - Tiered - Table

4. 100% hand counts of sufficient numbers of randomly selected vote counts Estimated - Formula

5. Count 10% of randomly sampled ballots of 100% of vote counts

I couldn't give a darn which method is used as long as at least ONE method is used in every election jurisdiction. These five methods all have pros and cons. Some are more politically viable than others. Some may be resisted more by election officials who seem apt to resist any audits of their work, than others. Some can only be used with certain
voting systems. Some require different amounts of resources and different procedures. All require auditable voting systems with VVPRs and all have more commonalities than differences. Any one of the five
would ensure the integrity and accuracy of our election outcomes if executed with proper procedures and citizen oversight.

This is what I propose: Let us form a new group of activists to work on a project to explain ALL the possible methods (I can count FIVE so far) that could be chosen to verify the integrity of election results
using hand counts of VVPRs; give the pros and cons of each method; and ask that our US legislators pass ANY ONE of them or a general requirement that states use AT LEAST ONE of the available methods of
verifying the integrity of election outcomes.

I invite anyone who agrees with the following five ground rules to join a discussion group to work on this project. If you agree that:

1. We need sufficient publicly observable and verifiable manual counts of VVPRs in every election to assure the accuracy and integrity of election outcomes because all voting systems are created and
implemented by human beings 100% of whom are not 100% infallible and 100% honest.

2. We will not mischaracterize or wrongly attack any of the five methods for ensuring election outcome integrity just because we have a preference for one particular method.

3. We will point out the flaws or cons of all of the five methods of ensuring election integrity only after studying and understanding them first. (We agree to do due diligence by reading and asking questions before pointing out alleged problems with any of the five methods.)

4. We will help describe and work on a paper explaining all of the five methods to ensure the integrity of election outcomes; assisting in our own areas of expertise.

5. We will act with integrity and be honest and stick with the facts.

You do not have to be an expert on all five methods. If you would like to join a work group of election integrity activists who agree with the above, in order to explain the possible solutions to ensure
election outcome integrity, please send an email to

fix-elections-somehow-subscribe@uscountvotes.org

and be sure to reply to the confirmation email. (We can form a Yahoo group instead if people would prefer but for now, please subscribe to this list.)

However, please do not subscribe to the list if your aim is to shoot down any of the five methods rather than to help accurately describe how each of them would work to ensure the integrity of elections.

Any which way we can do it, we need to ensure the integrity of US elections by 2008!


----
Kathy Dopp
http://electionarchive.org
National Election Data Archive
Dedicated to Accurately Counting Elections
Subscribe to announcements by emailing election-subscribe@uscountvotes.org

"Enlighten the people generally, and tyranny and oppressions of body
and mind will vanish like evil spirits at the dawn of day," wrote
Thomas Jefferson in 1816
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http://ElectionArchive.org

Founder and President of US Count Votes, dba The National Election Data Archive and volunteer for honest, accurately counted elections since 2003. Masters degree in mathematics with emphasis on computer science. Has written numerous academic and (more...)
 

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