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Be Aware of voting and election issues

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%The voting machine certification process in the state of Pennsylvania will be of the utmost importance during the next few months. PA reportedly, according to local election bureau officials, has 3 electronic style machines certified as of now. Another few may be on the list for consideration, however, are not yet certified. Local official did not know at this time whether a touch-screen machine with the voter-verified paper trail was certified and available for purchase. This issue will become much more rushed following the November general election. Yet, we need a reasoned and deliberative approach to the purchase of any new touch-screen machine. Hopefully, state election officials will have reviewed the John Hopkins report and even if they have doubts about the report, heed the warning that smart vote cards can potentially be duplicated and altered to allow for more than one vote per registered voter.

Citizens must demand safeguards and accountability from officials that these safeguards will be in place when the new electronic touch-screen machines become the norm.

Citizens - many who are - luckily for the rest of us - computer scientists, unite to demand tamper-proof voting machines. (Computerized voting systems pose unacceptable risks unless they provide a voter-verifiable audit trail, technologists warn, 1/30/03, Dawn Levy, News Service).

I've researched election issues since 1999 when I was fortunate to have been appointed by a Republican county commissioner to a newly formed committee to study election and vote fraud issues. (I'm registered as of "No Party.")

During the 2000 Presidential election, I followed along, gathering hundreds of links and articles on the Internet about the Florida election, and much material about election fraud across the United States. I compiled a great bulk of info on my free website, Truth On-Line, in my online report, Trail of Treachery

Since then, I've updated from time to time in links "Trail of Treachery" and "Track Vote Fraud". Found on Vote Fix site.

When our local county commissioners recently gave notice they might consider voting to replace our lever-type voting machines with touch-screen machines, a warning flash went off in my mind. I flipped through links I'd collected and thankfully, up popped Rebecca Mercuri link

Across the country, it isn't surprising that many election officials want updated machines - computerized versions - but how many are willing to listen to the input of regular citizens about the potential dangers of computerized voting machines? We are fortunate that our local commissioners do provide us with time to address them, and over the years submit other material to them. Hopefully, they read it!

In the few short days since June 1, 2003, I've found:

  • Noted computer scientists such as David Dill, Peter Neumann, and Rebecca Mercuri and others have warned of the potential "problems" associated with touch-screen machines

  • David Dill formulated a resolution concerning the touch-screen machines and recommends either

    Precinct-based optical scan ballots.
    Touch screen machines that print paper ballots.

  • U.S. Rep. Rush Holt has introduced federal legislation recently, pertaining to touch-screen machines and a required voter-verified receipt.

  • Holt has proposed in the legislation that funding be available for the move from punch-card machines and lever-style machines to a machine/system with a voter-verified paper trail.

  • Voting machine companies have heeded the warnings of computer scientists. Many now feature the voter-verified receipt(Voting Machine Leaves Paper Trail, By Joanna Glasner, May. 09, 2003).

  • Federal funding may become available prior to the 2004 Presidential election for replacement of current machines/voting systems.

    This from Rep. Holt's site is of particular interest to local county commissioners who may vote on whether to "fund" replacement machines

    Rep. Rush Holt Introduces Legislation to Require All Voting Machines To Produce A Voter-Verified Paper Trail

    The Voter Confidence and Increased Accessibility Act of 2003.

    1) Requires all voting systems to produce a voter-verified paper record for use in manual audits and recounts. For those using the increasingly popular ATM-like DRE(Direct Recording Electronic) machines, this requirement means the DRE would print a receipt that each voter would verify as accurate and deposit into a lockbox for later use in a recount. States would have until November 2003 to request additional funds to meet this requirement.

    3) Requires all voting systems to meet these requirements in time for the general election in November 2004. Jurisdictions that feel their new computer systems may not be able to meet this deadline may use an existing paper system as an interim measure (at federal expense) in the November 2004 election.

    Please visit Vote Fix for much more information on this issue.