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Re-counting the Toilet-Paper Audit Trail in Ohio

By       Message MJ Creech     Permalink
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3. Allow counties who wish to try it, to hand count all ballots. The same OS-type ballots can still be used. Recruit citizen volunteers or pay citizens like poll workers for this task, with oversight from election board professionals. The same workers can then do the post-election audit.

4. Have citizen recruits oversee, or actually do the others aspects of the audit, such as reconciling signature books and inspecting absentee and provisional ballots, with professional oversight where needed.

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5. Publicize the probability of finding fraud with the percentage of ballots spot-counted.

6. Educate election workers on the vulnerabilities of computerized voting and in the other ways fraud can be committed, and what to watch out for. Make them read a synopsis of the Everest Report. We might as well try to get our 1.9 million dollars worth.

7. Have the auditors also "follow the numbers" all the way from the precinct totals up to the spreadsheets used to determine county winners.

With the fact discovered rather recently of a "man-in-the-middle" website in Chattanooga that received all of the election results in the Presidential election of 2004 from SOS Blackwell, as they were coming in from the precincts and counties, (plus the results were suspiciously held for an hour and a half delay while the Republican-owned website operators, such as chief programmer Mike Connell-- recently dead from his plane crashing (click here ) did whatever they wished to the results before returning them back to Blackwell), it is absolutely necessary that citizens do the math for themselves. Add the precinct results to the absentees that counted, to the paper ballots, to the overseas absentees, to the rejected paper ballots that are later approved, to the provisional that count, and then add the precinct totals together to see if the county totals are correct. All these numbers must be made available for citizen auditors to spot check either randomly or suspicious precincts.

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8. Have the auditors report and account for unused ballots, spoiled ballots, and ballot receipts. These could also be spot checked. This is part of the new audit, but needs to be implemented with more oversight.


All in all, the county election workers did an organized and efficient, and, from my observation, an honest job of the post-election audit as proscribed by the Secretary of State. I believe such an audit will make it harder for riggers to rig and for tired election workers to miscount or lose ballots and/or votes.

On the other hand, it is still a great mystery to many of us who have followed the saga of fraud in elections since 2004, and even before, why we have to devise audits to try to find, and then correct, the myriad ways computerized electronic voting machines--whether touchscreen or optical scanners, or tabulators-- can be manipulated either ahead of time with rigged programs, during an election from a distant middle-man computer site or in incremental ways through local tabulator rigging of memory cards, or after the election through the changing of the numbers with no accountability. Wouldn't is be simpler, and cheaper too, just to get rid of the machines and hand count all the ballots in full view of the public?

An audit would still be a good idea, but we wouldn't be relying on the randomness of spot checks to catch sophisticated computer fraud.

Marj Creech, Citizen Audit Observer, Dec. 2008

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