January 2, 2007
The question of ensuring an accurate, transparent count of the people's vote has been at the forefront of concerns of many individuals and groups, both private and governmental. how to guarantee that the actual will of the people is carried out. This week the U.S. Senate and House will be meeting and voting on recommendations to improve the voting system. Several of the nation's foremost election integrity experts have spent the last several months grappling with some of these issues and have come up with 14 RECOMMENDATIONS FOR FEDERAL LEGISLATION TO ENSURE THE INTEGRITY OF OUR DEMOCRACY.
In light of the continuing problem of questionable election outcomes in jurisdictions all over the country, where tens of thousands of votes appear not to have been recorded correctly, these recommendations are crucial to reestablishing trust in U.S. elections. Just five of these recommendations would prevent the wrong candidate being sworn into office as it appears may be happening in Florida's House District 13 election. Due to the untimely release of complete vote count data, investigators are just now turning up statistically improbable vote outcomes and election challenges are still underway. Those five recommendations, with just the briefest of definitions, are:
• Manual Audits, enough votes have to be manually hand counted to ensure that the machine counts are not outcome-altering;
• Auditable Voting Systems, the system must provide a voter-verified permanent paper copy of the vote that is sturdy enough for handling in recounts and/or storage;
• Public Election Records, rapid access to paper and electronic election records, and detailed vote counts in all vote types to ensure that over or under votes in different vote types don't cancel each other out and thereby obscure vote irregularities, before a race is called;
• Public Right to Observe, genuine observation, not just presence in the room is vital to the maintenance of fairness and transparency;
• Teeth in the Legislation, civil and/or criminal penalties or a reduction of funding for failure to live up to the standards of a fair and open election process, do not swear in until election contests are satisfied.
To read the recommendations with details in full go to http://electionarchive.org/ucvInfo/US/EI-FederalLegislationProposal.pdf
This highly qualified group of election integrity authorities is comprised of attorneys, election law specialists, state election officials, computer scientists, mathematicians, a designer of systems for people with disabilities, and a public administration and election policy expert. The complete list of experts, including their qualifications, is available at http://electionarchive.org/ucvInfo/US/ExpertsList.pdf
Congressional members and their staffs may go over any or all of their concerns on the recommended legislation with these experts and their associates.
This group of experts feels that enacting these recommendations will help to ensure the integrity of our democracy. They urge you to contact your US Senators and Representatives to encourage them to vote for these recommendations.