92% of Americans Oppose Secret Vote Counting; Favor Public's Right to
Know In Elections
By Kathy Dopp
of every single demographic group in American favors the public's
right to observe vote counting and to obtain any information regarding
vote counting, according an August 12-15 Zogby telephone poll of
approximately 1200 likely voters nationwide.
One actual survey question and answers is:
"In some states, members of the public have the right to view the
counting of votes and verify how that process is working. In other
states, citizens are in effect barred from viewing vote counting even
if they would like to view the process. Which of the following two
statements are you more likely to agree with A or B?"
Statement A: Citizens have the right to view and obtain information
about how election officials count votes.
Statement B: Citizens do not have the right to view and obtain
information about how elections officials count votes.
The survey was commissioned by election protection attorney Paul Lehto
of Washington State. According to Lehto, "The public overwhelmingly
opposes secret vote counting and favors election transparency and the
public right to know."
Here in Utah, our Utah election officials are out of touch with the
public, as shown by this new Zogby poll. Utah Lt. Governor's office
implemented state-wide voting systems with secret ("proprietary")
programming code and decertified Utah's former paper voting systems to
force counties to adopt new electronic ballots that are not humanly
Bruce Funk of Emery County, Utah invited computer security experts to
examine Utah's new voting machines in March, 2006. The findings were
reported in the New York Times on May 12, 2006. The security flaws
that Funk found caused PA and CA to issue urgent security directives
and Avi Rubin, professor of computer science at Johns Hopkins
University said "I almost had a heart attack. The implications of
this are pretty astounding" and Michael Shamos of Carnegie Mellon
University said "It's the most severe security flaw ever discovered in
a voting system". Yet Utah's Lt. Governor's office reacted by holding
a closed executive session meeting with Diebold officials and Emery
County officials, after which the doors on Bruce Funk's office were
locked to prevent this 23 year elected official from doing the job he
was elected for. The minutes of their secret meeting have yet to be
In Cuyahoga County, Ohio, where Salt Lake County's former election
official Michael Vu now officiates, it was found that 15% of the paper
ballot records did not match Diebold touch-screen electronic counts in
the recent primary. According to Kitty Pilgrim, CNN correspondent,
"The May primary election in Cuyahoga County, Ohio, using Diebold
electronic voting machines was a debacle."
The only way to be sure that electronic counts are correct is to count
the voter verifiable paper records. Yet, the Salt Lake Tribune on
July 7, 2006 quoted Utah Election Director Michael Cragun saying that
a recount would consist of reconciling the electronic polling place
records by "re-accumulating the memory cards" and "The permanent paper
record comes into play only in an extreme situation."
Counting the paper roll ballot records by hand to verify the accuracy
of electronic counts requires equipment called "paper roll advancers".
Yet Utah election officials have not purchased any paper roll
advancers; have not purchased the equipment required to install a
known clean software system on Diebolds; and have kept Utah's security
procedures a secret. "Security by obscurity" is a formula for insider
in elections that the public overwhelmingly wants. The US
Constitution created a government with checks and balances, not a
system of blind trust in the infallibility and good intentions of
others. Yet Utah election officials implemented a new "faith-based"
voting system which lets private companies secretly count unseen
electronic ballots and determine outcomes of elections without any
These nearly unanimous Zogby poll results bolster efforts to convince
the Utah Lt. Governor's Office that the public recognizes this as a
crisis on which they must act to change our election conditions. The
staff of the Lt. Governor's office should be willing to admit the
problems inherent with the secret vote counting machines and consult
with expert computer scientists and mathematicians to develop methods
to ensure our election outcome integrity.
In concert with Tuesday's full announcement of the Zogby poll, the
National Election Data Archive has developed a new method for ensuring
election outcome integrity. In this new paper to be released soon by
the National Election Data Archive "The Election Integrity Audit"
NEDA's releases a new method for calculating audit amounts -- hand
counting of ballots done to check the accuracy of vote tallying
machines-that would reveal any corrupted vote counts that could
wrongfully alter any election outcome.