Five states now use touchscreens to count their votes, with no paper trail at all, which means that there can never be a recount or an audit of any kind. I wish I were making this up. These states are Georgia, South Carolina, Louisiana, New Jersey and Delaware.
Of these five, Georgia is one of the most watched and hotly contested elections in the country. Stacey Abrams (D) is running for governor and so is Brian Kemp (R), the present Secretary of State. Kemp has no issues with how voting takes place in Georgia. He has been taken to court by the NAACP and others because of his infamous and corrupt acts to suppress the vote of African Americans in Georgia. Voting rights activists have been contesting the use of the machines for a long time, including as recently as this year. To no avail - yet, let's hope. So in Georgia, we have suppression of the vote and hacking of electronic voting machines easily done and then no recourse with audits or recounts of the machines. And what I have said barely touches the suppression of the vote by Jim Crow, ID laws, gerrymandering, purging the election rolls, "exact match" and on and on and on.
Texas is also one of the most watched and hotly contested elections in the country. Progressive Beto O'Rourke (D) is challenging incumbent senator Ted Cruz (R). Some Democratic voters have already begun to report that when they vote straight party and vote for O'Rourke, the screen changes to Cruz. Some Republican voters say that when they vote straight party for Cruz, the screen shows O'Rourke. The election officials are unconscionably and shamelessly blaming the voters. Texas also uses touchscreens without a paper trail, but not throughout the whole state as Georgia does.
An 11-year-old girl and an 11-year-old boy independently hacked electronic voting machines at Def Con in Las Vegas, August 2018. In September 2018, Kim Zetter asks us in "The Crisis of Election Security""As the midterms approach, America's electronic voting systems are more vulnerable than ever. Why isn't anyone trying to fix them?" Moreover, "The Voting Machines In The [Emmy nominated] Feature Film 'HACKING DEMOCRACY' Counted America's Votes In The November 2016 Elections," the film website starkly reminds us. These voting machines will again be used to count our votes on November 6, 2018, in the upcoming midterms.
To see what kind of machines are used in each state and if there is even a paper trail if the state uses touchscreens/DRE's, Verified Voting has answers on The Verifier - "Polling Place Equipment - November 2018."
Saving our elections cannot be done by paper ballots and post election audits. There is only one way to do so, to make sure that we have honest, secure elections. That each of our votes is counted as cast: elections with hand-counted paper ballots.
Here is democracy's solution, democracy in our hands: young people, elders, and everyone in between get paid $20/hour to hand-count and/or observe the hand-counting of the paper ballots. My thoughts are that states would be crowded full of people who want to hand-count and observe an honest count of our elections. The right to vote and have our vote counted as cast is the most important right and vote we have: all our other rights rest on this.
Here are some major requirements:
- ballots are paper and are hand-marked by each voter
- there are no more than one thousand registered voters in each precinct
- the ballots are publicly hand-counted by teams of all parties on the ballot
- the hand-counting is live-streamed and is publicly observed by teams of all parties on the ballot and others who want to observe
- the hand-counting is done immediately after the polls close at each precinct where the votes were cast
- the ballots are hand-counted twice or until the hand-counted tallies match
- a chain of custody of the ballots and ballot boxes must be specified from the time the ballots are printed to the time they are counted and archived
- ballot boxes must be observed 24/7 and a video record created as boxes are opened and closed and moved from place to place
- the results of the hand-counting are posted publicly at each precinct where counted immediately after the hand-counting, posted both inside and on the windows facing out, so all can see
- this public posting is done before any precinct results are sent over the internet to be counted with all the other precincts
- electronic voting machines, both optical scans and touchscreens/DRE's, are not involved in the counting in any way, nor is there a connection to the internet at any time during voting and hand-counting
In states where they use optical scan machines, there will be paper ballots to hand-mark and then to hand-count, instead of putting them through the machines to count.
As they stand currently, our elections are a hydra-headed monster.
We must face that horrific truth head on and start saving them now.