September 1, 2006
Is Utah Planning Sham Vote Count Audits?
After selecting hack-able Diebold voting systems, Utah Lt. Governor
Herbert is appointing an Election Audit Committee that appears to be
neither independent nor qualified.
The elections industry is the only major U.S. industry not subjected
to routine independent audits! "Independent" means that insiders, in
this case election office staff, technicians, and voting machine
vendor staff, are not the auditors.
Election Office's contract workers, Political Scientist Thad Hall, to
Utah's Election Audit Committee. Hall testified publicly in writing
that electronic voting systems should not use voter-verifiable paper
audit trails. According to Utah's computer scientists, Thad Hall was
recently hired by Utah's Election Office to "sell" the idea of
paperless electronic voting. Hall's publicly reported conclusion,
that "people are comfortable with electronic voting", was not
correctly obtained from Hall's own survey questions or data.
On the other hand, Utah's Lt. Governor seems not to be considering any
degreed PhD mathematicians or statisticians for his election audit
committee. If the goal of audits is election outcome integrity then
mathematicians are needed to perform complex calculations of
probabilities and audit sizes necessary for detecting outcome-altering
electronic vote miscount, especially when discrepancies are found.
Fixed audit rates are insufficient to detect miscount that could
wrongly alter outcomes of close races.
Utah's voting machine company, Diebold, recommends "auditing" by
scanning bar codes printed on voter-verifiable paper roll ballot
records. Will bar codes match the electronic counts, both created by
secret (proprietary) programs and not voter-verifiable? Do we care?
Does Utah's Lt. Governor represent Diebold, a company currently being
sued for fraud in several federal and state lawsuits; or does he
represent Utah voters who want transparently accurate elections ?
Utah's current election system with its recent addition of
"faith-based" technology ideal for hacking the vote, gives insiders
freedom to undetectably manipulate elections.
Please call Utah's Governor, Lt. Governor, and legislators and ask
them to put PhD mathematicians on Utah's audit committee and subject
our elections to adequate routine independent manual checks of humanly
verifiable paper records just like banks and other businesses.
Kathy Dopp, MS Mathematics, Utah Count Votes Founder, Summit County
435-658-4657, Park City, UT
See Response to: "American Attitudes about Electronic Voting" Survey
By Thad Hall and Michael Alvarez
http://www.vote.caltech.edu/reports/fall04survey.pdf And Advice for
Utah's Voting Equipment Selection