Vickie Karp, 512/775-3737
Attention: Political Assignments Desk
VOTERESCUE ACTS TO SAVE VANISHING VOTING RIGHTS
WITH HAND-COUNTED PAPER BALLOT SYSTEM IN CITIZENS' PARALLEL ELECTION, AUSTIN, TEXAS ON MARCH 7, 2006
WHO: VoteRescue, an Austin-based citizens' group working to restore fair and accurate elections, and Coalition for Visible Ballots, representing citizen members from across the U.S.
WHAT: "Citizens' Parallel Election with Hand-Counted Paper Ballots ", held on March 7th, Election Day
WHY: Citizen volunteers from VoteRescue the Coalition for Visible Ballots want to educate Travis and Williamson County voters that: 1. There is no way of knowing if their votes are being counted accurately by the secret, corporate-protected voting software that operates every voting machine in the county. 2. Hundreds of serious problems with electronic vote tallies across the country have been documented since November 2000 and repeated tests by computer experts have discovered embedded election "flipping " software. 3. The total lack of transparency (i.e., the impossibility of tracking the votes are in the counting and tallying process) inherent with electronic voting coupled with these other revelations have stripped voters of their fundamental, sacred right to vote and have it counted correctly.
Like most Direct Record Electronic voting systems, both the Hart InterCivic "E-Slate" machines used here in Travis County and the ES&S iVotronic touchscreen voting machines used in Williamson County produce no paper ballot or record for the voter to verify; therefore, in the case of a close or questionable election, meaningful recounts or audits are impossible. Optical scan counters used in some parts of Williamson County to count paper ballots are equally suspect due to secret software and no accountability to the voter. Hart InterCivic representatives maintain that recounts can be performed; however these so-called recounts only review how the machine secretly tallied the votes the first time. Nor would this process reveal machine miscounts, errant programming or tampering.
Volunteers working on the Citizens' Parallel Election (CPE) will invite voters once they exit their polling place to vote again on a paper ballot, place their vote in a ballot box, and return at 7pm to watch the votes be counted. This project will familiarize voters with the concept of hand-counted paper ballot elections, which many experts who have studied electronic voting now agree is the election method least vulnerable to fraud and other failures. Though not 100% tamper-proof, hand-counted paper ballot elections do not allow the opportunity for elections to be "flipped" with one stroke on a computer keyboard or by deeply embedded secret programs.
The results of the Citizens' Parallel Election will serve primarily as a basic survey of the voters participating in the CPE and will be compared to the "official" election results, but only in very sweeping terms. If a significant difference is found between any two election results, this discrepancy will be presented to election officials, as well as the media, as a red flag that may signal a problem warranting further attention.
Black Box Voting, a citizens' watchdog group for elections, has recently exposed serious flaws with two of the four major electronic machine vendors, Diebold and Sequoia. The evidence against electronic voting is so irrefutable as to make all electronic voting systems suspect of fraud.
For more information about the perils of electronic voting, see the following sites: