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Black Box Voting to Wash. DC Council re: Proposed Election Reforms

By       Message Bev Harris       (Page 1 of 5 pages)     Permalink    (# of views)   1 comment

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Note that this letter deals with issues that are national in scope. In keeping with our priorities at Black Box Voting, deals with the core issue of public rights in public elections in addition to addressing specific talking points against no-fault absentee and for checks and balances for the same-day registration process. (PDF version here: The link to this flash video was removed for security reasons

Currently Washington D.C. has need-based absentee voting, an acceptable practice which limits risk to about 12% of the vote pool and provides checks and balances missing with no-fault absentee. Need-based absentee voting provides key statistical information. This kind of information has been used to identify absentee ballot fraud in the past.(5) This information will be missing with no-fault absentee voting.

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2. SAME DAY REGISTRATION: We commend D.C. for proposing to implement this. Same day registration is a better option than provisional ballots. It solves problems of purging and caging with fewer attack vectors. However, without adequate checks and balances, same-day registration is ripe for fraud.

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(a) The registration cards containing identifying information must be available for public review on request;
(b) Full name and address needs to be included on poll book sign-in.

Problems we've seen with same-day registration: In New Hampshire, we have videotaped poll book same-day registrants inserted with just a list of names and NO ADDRESS, a fraud-ridiculous practice. New Hampshire requires names and addresses on the poll book sign in, but they did not follow this requirement, at least for the town of Woodstock in the 2008 Primary election. Because New Hampshire prohibits the public from examining the registration card filled out with same-day registrations, it was not possible to verify and authenticate New Hampshire same-day registrants. Someone could simply go through the phone book and add names at the end of the poll book list. (Adding to our concerns, we videotaped the Woodstock poll book -- called a "checklist" in New Hampshire election terminology -- as it was being carted around in a transport van driven by a couple of file clerks, a van that was not going to or coming from anywhere near the town Woodstock.)

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If you implement same-day registration, will Washington D.C. (a) require full name and address on poll sheets and (b) allow the public to review actual registration cards? Without those two safeguards, this practice is indeed ripe for fraud, as some critics have charged.

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Bev Harris is executive director of Black Box Voting, Inc. an advocacy group committed to restoring citizen oversight to elections.

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