Make Our Votes Count - Paper Trail Voting in Martin County
After the debacle of the 2000 presidential election, particularly in Florida, there was nation-wide outrage questioning the validity of our voting systems. In response to these concerns The Help America Vote Act (HAVA) became law in October, 2002. HAVA requires state election systems to provide a permanent paper record with a manual audit capacity (Help America Vote Act, Section 301(a)(2)(b)(i)). HAVA also requires that each precinct have one DRE (direct recording electronic) machine with audio capabilities to accommodate the visually impaired.
Florida's response to HAVA is available on the Florida Division of Elections website http://election.dos.state.fl.us/hava/index.shtml.
Martin County has touch screen voting machines that do not provide a paper printout for voter verification or a manual recount. Florida has now changed the rules governing manual recounts stating over-vote and under-vote challenges will not trigger a recount, and refers to the internal auditing done by each machine as a "manual recount". The Government Accounting Office has recently released a report stating concerns for election security and the reliability of electronic voting machines.
GAO Report on Electronic Voting Systems
- In October, 2005, the GAO released a report on the security and reliability of voting systems.(GAO-05-956) Problems cited included: ballot files, memory cards and audit logs could be modified; access to voting machines was inadequately protected; systems had easily picked locks and power switches; voting machine vendors had weak security practices.
- The GAO report also cited examples of failures in real elections including the following: In California, a county presented voters with an incorrect electronic ballot meaning they could not vote in certain races; in Pennsylvania, a county made a ballot error on an electronic voting system that resulted in the county's undervote percentage reaching 80% in some precincts; in North Carolina, electronic voting machines continued to accept votes after their memories were full, causing over 4,000 votes to be lost; in Florida, a county reported that touch screen machines took up to an hour to activate and had activated sequentially, resulting in long delays.
- Representative Henry Waxman (D-CA), a member of the Committee on Government Reform, "The GAO report indicates that we need to get serious and act quickly to improve the security of electronic voting machines. The report makes clear that there is a lack of transparency and accountability in electronic voting systems - from the day that contracts are signed with manufacturers to the counting of electronic votes on Election Day. State and local officials are spending a great deal of money on machines without concrete proof that they are secure and reliable. American voters deserve better." (www.reform.house.gov) (US Vote Fraud News Links)
- Martin County voters will be using touch screen machines in all precincts. Last election approximately 23% of Martin County voters voted absentee using paper ballots which were optically scanned. 16% voted early on touchscreen machines; the remaining 61% voted on election day on touchscreen machines.
- No paper trail of individual votes is provided and no manual recount is possible.
JOIN US -- MAKE SURE YOUR VOTE IS COUNTED!
Martin County Democrats and the Florida Democratic Party support the requirements that all voting systems provide for a voter verifiable paper ballot consistent with the Report of the Commission on Federal Election Reform:
- To increase citizens' confidence that their vote will be counted accurately
- To allow for a recount
- To provide a backup in cases of loss of votes due to computer malfunction
- To test - through a random selection of machines - whether the paper result is the same as the electronic result
Links & More:
1/23/06: Voting Machine Fraud
1/23/06: "I Saw It Hacked"
US Vote Fraud News Links
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