Why Banish Lever Machines along with DRE Machines?
An amazingly smart election activist and my personal heroine of the movement named Ginny sat in my apartment in Vinings, GA and along with 6 other Georgia election activists, dumped her 3 years of hard work and election integrity learnings on me as a way to prepare me for my debut as a future election integrity activist. It is Ginny’s philosophical genius about chain of custody and ballot integrity that guides my writing of this article. I therefore demand we as a community committed to election integrity, banish support for all DREs, Lever Machines and Optiscan and go back to simple hand counted paper ballots on election day (no vote by mail either) and return our country to truly representative government. I intend my arguments to be easy enough to comprehend for activists who support Lever machines to reconsider that support. Remember voter owned elections means the citizens own the ballots, but how can you get a copy of that ballot if the ballot is a process?
Are Ballots Objects or Processes?
We must first ask the question, is a ballot a physical object or is it a process?
I am clear that the ballot is a physical object and this notion is supported by federal and state constitutional definitions of a ballot. I will prove the ballot is a physical object thru triangulation of the definition of an absentee ballot and then use the Federal equal protection clause to assume normal ballots must also fit the same definition. According to the Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (42 U.S.C.A. § 1973ff et seq.), the definition of a ballot is:
This would indicate a ballot is an object that can be both marked and mailed, which would not be consistent with the definition of a ballot as being a process.
I would further seek activist commentary on the definition of a ballot by activists agreeing as below in a post on Black Box Voting by Hal Guentert:
The ballot must not become the precursor, the pixels on a screen that vanish in the electronic ether right before our eyes. It must be a permanent ballot, an uneditable ballot, readable without a machine, and auditable to the point that there is a one voter (secret/announymous) to one ballot relationship.
The actual ballots should be physical, counted, and protected securely. They cannot be electronic, because electronic ballots are not physical, readable without a machine, or uneditable.
Counting, tallying, tabulating, chain of custody, all depend on this official source document.” - Hal Guentert
To which Michael Johnson responds:
'I believe almost everyone here agrees that an official ballot ought to be required to be a paper document, not some bits in a memory card. It's one of the recs in my "stuff we all agree on" thread".' – Michael Johnson
In short, by agreeing as a community that the ballot is a physical object and not a process, we knocked out the ballot of record being the electronic version of an optiscan ballot, even if that scan is supposed to be an exact duplicate of the physical ballot, we just agreed, that the paper ballot (or the voter filled out optiscan ballot form) that went into the Optiscan machines resides as the “Ballot of record” for the purposes of a recount. This distinction that a ballot is a physical object is not only our key legal and legislative ally, there are reasons why we need to begin attacking election code that redefines ballots as processes such as here in the Georgia Election code: O.C.G.A. § 21-2-2 (2008)
(1) "Ballot" means "official ballot" or "paper ballot" and shall include the instrument, whether paper, mechanical, or electronic, by which an elector casts his or her vote.