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Election Reform

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Open Source Software
Tests for Hardware
Verification of Results
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Voter Fraud
Voting Machines

Also Try
  1. Election Fraud
  2. Elections Supervision
  3. Paperless Voting
  4. Voter Suppression
Lesson Plans
  1. -09-11-06 Analysis of Election Campaigns (PBS.org)
      Provides lessons to help students become better consumers of political information." 04-08

  2. -09-11-06 Analysis of Presidential Debates (PBS.org)
      "Explain to your students that often viewers react to a candidate's performance-- how they look and act instead of what they say. This activity is designed to help them focus on what the candidates say and then look at how the media covers the debate and the consequent effect on public opinion." 09-08

Multimedia
  1. -Debate: Should Voters Trust Electronic Voting Machines? (VoterAction.org)
      The Voter Action Co-Director debates with the Election Assistance Commission Director. 06-06

  2. -Editorial: Lou Dobbs Reports on Threat to Democracy Posed by Voting Machines (BradBlog.com)
      Dobbs points out that many of our voting machines are owned by foreign companies and such ownership is not in any way reviewed by our federal government. The software that runs the machines is proprietary and cannot be examined to determine what it does when it counts the votes. 06-06

  3. Study: Dobbs Reports that Voting Machines Are Not Secure (BradBlog.com)
      Lou Dobbs goes over the Brennan Center's comprehensive report on over 100 ways the three most commonly used electronic voting machines can be manipulated to change the overall results of an election--by one person. 06-06

News
  1. "The Gideon Initiative" (HuffingtonPost.com)
      "Voters Unite's John Gideon, the Indefatigable chronicler of problems with election administration, for nearly six years [Note -- original post incorrectly said three] produced the Daily Voting News. Last night John died at age 62. Brad Friedman has a moving tribute to him on Bradblog. You can also see John's work by visiting the archive of Daily Voting News."

      "John shared one of my beliefs -- that citizens should control of our elections. As a tribute, perhaps those believing in that goal can join together in the 'Gideon initiative.' " 04-09

  2. -04-12-07 Pennsylvania Court Requires Paper Ballots (VoteTrustUSA.org
      “A Pennsylvania court held late today that voters have a right under the commonweath's constitution to reliable and secure voting systems and can challenge the use of electronic voting machines 'that provide no way for Electors to know whether their votes will be recognized' through voter verification or independent audit." 04-07

  3. -05-11-07 H.R. 811, The Voter Confidence & Increased Accessibility Act (TruthOut.org)
      The bill is an amendment to the Help America Vote Act (HAVA), which was passed after the debacle in Florida during the 2000 general election. HAVA funded the replacement of old voting systems and gave rise to a new generation of technology-based systems that have been proven untrustworthy. Most notable of these are the Direct Recording Electronic voting systems (DRE), which store electronic records of votes and use those records to tabulate election outcomes. Computer scientists have shown that elections employing these machines are not safe from hackers."

      "Holt's efforts have come under scrutiny from grass-roots activists and experts who have been deeply involved in election integrity. Many of these activists oppose the Holt legislation because it does not go far enough in ensuring that elections are secure. They seek further citizen oversight and a ban on DRE voting systems. But the bill has supporters in activist circles, including MoveOn.org, Common Cause, and People For the American Way (PFAW). These groups point to the urgency of getting some kind of legislation passed that can be implemented before the 2008 elections." 05-07

  4. -08-16-07 E-Voting a Non-Starter (BBC News)
      "A group of researchers at Johns Hopkins and Rice universities in the US got their hands on the source code of one of the most widely-used electronic voting systems, from Diebold Election Systems, and did a security audit on it."

      "The system they look at is called a 'direct election recording', or DRE, system. It runs on specially adapted touch screen systems in voting booths, but it is the software that would form the basis of an online voting system too."

      "DRE systems were available to over a fifth of people voting in the 2002 US congressional elections."

      "The researchers found dozens of security holes in the voting system. In order to vote, each person had to insert a special card, but the system did not check that the same person was not voting many times."

      "It was also possible to change the order that candidates were presented on the screen without changing the internal codes assigned to each one, so that voters could be tricked into voting for the wrong person." 08-07

  5. -11-03-07 Voting Out Electronic Ballots (Time.com)
      "It is hard to believe now what a darling touch-screen voting was seven years ago. After the Florida presidential vote recount debacle — which made traditional paper voting, especially the infamous 'butterfly' ballots and hanging chads, look positively Third World — electronic voting was embraced as the way back from America's electoral humiliation. Some 50,000 touch-screen machines were bought in 37 states at a cost of almost a quarter of a billion dollars."

      "The reversal since then couldn't be more stunning — as indicated by a bill in Congress introduced this past week by Florida Senator Bill Nelson and Rhode Island Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, which would ban touch-screen voting (also known as direct recording electronic voting, or DRE) in federal elections starting in 2012. 'We have to start setting a goal on this,' Nelson tells TIME. 'Voters have to feel confident that their ballot will count as intended.' " 11-07

  6. -11-03-07 Voting Out Electronic Ballots (Time.com)
      "It is hard to believe now what a darling touch-screen voting was seven years ago. After the Florida presidential vote recount debacle — which made traditional paper voting, especially the infamous 'butterfly' ballots and hanging chads, look positively Third World — electronic voting was embraced as the way back from America's electoral humiliation. Some 50,000 touch-screen machines were bought in 37 states at a cost of almost a quarter of a billion dollars."

      "The reversal since then couldn't be more stunning — as indicated by a bill in Congress introduced this past week by Florida Senator Bill Nelson and Rhode Island Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, which would ban touch-screen voting (also known as direct recording electronic voting, or DRE) in federal elections starting in 2012. 'We have to start setting a goal on this,' Nelson tells TIME. 'Voters have to feel confident that their ballot will count as intended.' " 11-07

  7. -11-21-07 Top Voting Machine Company Sued (FogCityJournal.com)
      "City Attorney Dennis Herrera filed suit against the City's voting systems vendor today, charging Omaha, Neb.-based Election Systems & Software, Inc. with a panoply of wrongdoing that includes fraud, breach of contract, negligent misrepresentation and multiple violations of California's Elections Code, False Claims Act and Unfair Competition Law. In a 23-page civil complaint filed in San Francisco Superior Court this morning, Herrera detailed a months-long pattern of misrepresentations and voting system problems by ES&S that caused California Secretary of State Debra Bowen to impose stringent conditions on the City's use of the company's voting machines to conduct its municipal election earlier this month. Because of those restrictions, San Francisco election officials were forced to tabulate ballots centrally; to remake thousands of ballots by hand; and to borrow equipment from another county. City elections officials were unable to release election results from the polling places on election night as is the ordinary practice, and do not expect to announce final results for San Francisco's municipal election until Dec. 4, 2007 -- fully four weeks after Election Day." 11-07

  8. -12-20-08 Mike Connell's Death and Possible Rigging of Elections (VelvetRevolution.us)
      "Michael Connell, the Bush IT expert who has been directly implicated in the rigging of George Bush’s 2000 and 2004 elections, was killed last night when his single engine plane crashed three miles short of the Akron airport. Velvet Revolution ('VR'), a non-profit that has been investigating Mr. Connell’s activities for the past two years, can now reveal that a person close to Mr. Connell has recently been discussing with a VR investigator how to tell all about his work for George Bush. Mr. Connell told a close associate that he was afraid that the George Bush and Dick Cheney would 'throw [him] under the bus.' ”

      "A tipster close to the McCain campaign disclosed to VR in July that Mr. Connell’s life was in jeopardy and that Karl Rove had threatened him and his wife, Heather. VR’s attorney, Cliff Arnebeck, notified the United States Attorney General , Ohio law enforcement and the federal court about these threats and insisted that Mr. Connell be placed in protective custody. VR also told a close associate of Mr. Connell’s not to fly his plane because of another tip that the plane could be sabatoged. Mr. Connell, a very experienced pilot, has had to abandon at least two flights in the past two months because of suspicious problems with his plane. On December 18, 2008, Mr. Connell flew to a small airport outside of Washington DC to meet some people. It was on his return flight the next day that he crashed." 12-08

  9. -Editorial: Drop Touch-Screens (OrlandoSentinel.com)
      "Nothing is more sacred or vital to the survival of democracy than the ability to cast a vote with the confidence that vote will be counted accurately."

      "And yet the very foundation of this principle was shaken by the fiasco in Sarasota County on Nov. 7, when ATM-styled touch-screen machines showed more than 18,000 voters made no choice in one of the most hotly contested congressional races in the country. After a ridiculous "recount" in name only, the official returns show that Republican Vern Buchanan defeated Democrat Christine Jennings in District 13 by 369 votes out of 238,249 counted."

      "But that result isn't worth the paper the electronic ballots were not printed on. Without a paper trail to independently validate the electronic vote, the mandatory recount amounted to hitting the rewind button and replaying the machines' sad song." 12-06

  10. 02-11-06 New Jersey Lawsuit Challenges Constitutionality of E-Voting (VoteTrustUSA.org)
      Provides news on the lawsuit. " In a just released press release, the Constitutional Litigation Clinic at Rutgers School of Law in Newark, NJ has announced that all electronic voting machines used in New Jersey may violate New Jersey's Constitution and election laws." 02-06

  11. Editorial: The (Ugly) Secret of Oregon's Elections (The Oregonian - Ross)
      "With each election, Oregon voters can celebrate the flexibility and convenience of casting their votes by mail-in paper ballots. We can toast the fact that those ballots can be hand counted to confirm the outcome. But before breaking out the microbrew, we should ask ourselves: 'Are they?' Hand counted for confirmation, that is."

      "Well, the answer is 'no.' The truth is, all of our paper ballots are counted exclusively by optical scanners. And while that fact alone shouldn't dampen the festivities too much, this fact should: All ballots in Oregon are counted using proprietary software whose specifications are considered trade secrets and are not disclosed to officials or the public. So, as in other states, Oregon outsources to private corporations such as ES&S, Sequoia and Diebold the most crucial public function in our democracy -- the counting of our votes."

      Editor's Note: Staff of the Awesome Library participated in drafting the bill, HB 3270, discussed in this editorial that is designed to ensure competent audits of election outcomes. 05-07

  12. Election Reform News (ElectionOnline.org)
      Provides a newsletter, alerts, and more.

  13. Election Reform News (VelvetRevolution.us)
      Provides news related to election reform.

  14. Election Reform News (VotersUnite.org)
      Provides daily news on election reform efforts in the United States.

  15. Election Reform News and Advocacy (California Election Protection Network)
      Provides news and advocacy projects to eliminate paperless elections and more." 02-06

  16. News on Election Reform (VoteTrustUSA.org)
      Provides news. 02-06

Papers
  1. -Editorial: The Myth of Fair Elections (Observer Guardian - Harris)
      "There is little doubt that at a grassroots level America's election is in disarray and being abused. And at a time of narrow election victories where presidential races come down to a single state (Florida in 2000 and Ohio in 2004) a microscope is instantly cast on that state's electoral practises. And lo, they are found wanting. Or open to fraud. Or being abused. Or local groups (from both sides) are going hell for leather to keep the other side from the polls. This is not because this is being planned out of Washington and targeted into those key states. It is because it is actually happening all over the country. We just notice because it has come down to the wire at that particular state."

      "You don't need to be a conspiracy theorist to be seriously worried about this state of affairs. In many ways, it is more worrying that the system is not being deliberately stolen from on high. It is actually broken from the ground up." 09-06

  2. -Election Reform Needed Now (Time.com)
      "A federal Voters’ Bill of Rights could press the states to put non-partisan managers in charge of elections. There is a good model for this in the Government Accountability Board, which runs Wisconsin elections. Members of the board are selected in ways designed to minimize political partisanship and they are expected to put fair elections ahead of politics." 11-12

  3. -Voter ID Laws Overturned by Courts (Christian Science Monitor)
      "In case after case, federal judges are siding with the Department of Justice’s claims that tougher state voting rules discriminate against the poor and minorities. But states vow to appeal to the Supreme Court, which has viewed voter ID laws favorably." 09-12

  4. 08-15-05 Study of e-Voting Funded (Berkeley.edu)
      "Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, will join colleagues at five institutions nationwide in a bold, new effort to improve the reliability and trustworthiness of electronic voting technology."

      " 'We'll look into ways of making the innards of the machine more trustworthy,' said David Wagner, UC Berkeley assistant professor of computer sciences and co-principal investigator of the center. 'This could range from building software that would make it hard for somebody to insert malicious logic without detection to building machines that include components from multiple vendors so the system can cross check itself.' " 8-05

  5. Analysis of Touch Screen Voting (NCVoter.net)
      Provides research results indicating that touch screen technology (DREs) are less reliable, more "hackable," and more expensive that optical scan machines for recording and counting votes. 02-07

  6. Ballot Integrity Act of 2007: Senate Bill 1487 (GovTrack.us)
      "To amend the Help America Vote Act of 2002 to require an individual, durable, voter-verified paper record under title III of such Act, and for other purposes. 06-07

  7. Editorial: Depoliticize Administration of Elections (Law.com)
      "No other advanced democracy uses partisan election officials to administer its elections. No other advanced democracy uses such a decentralized system with its patchwork of rules."

      "We dodged a bullet this time [2004]. Next time, we may not be so lucky. It is time to nationalize and depoliticize our system of election administration. The public's faith in our democratic process demands it." 2-05

  8. Election Laws (ElectionLawBlog.org)
      Provides news, links, and information related to election laws and enforcement. 2-05

  9. Election Reform Agenda (CommonCause.org)
      Provides the Common Cause election reform priorities. 12-05

  10. Election Standards (Oregon Voter Rights Coalition)
      Provides standards for open and secure elections. 8-05

  11. Elections Reform: Report to Nation (CommonCause.org)
      Provides a summary of voting irregularities from the 2004 election and proposes elections reforms. 12-04

  12. Electoral College - How to Resolve a Crisis (CNN)
      Discusses a case of a presidential election crisis regarding the Electoral College. To prevent future crises, "Congress passed the Electoral Count Act in 1887. The law left the task of choosing electors to the states...." 11-00

  13. Electrion Integrity Advocates (VerifiedVoting.org)
      "VerifiedVoting.org a non-partisan non-profit organization that advocates for legislation and regulation that promotes accuracy, transparency and verifiability of elections."

  14. Essay - 10 Steps to Better Elections (SierraClub.org)
      "We don't have to quietly accept the status quo. Here are ten ways we could dramatically improve our electoral system. None is officially endorsed by the Sierra Club, but all are worthy of bipartisan consideration. Some could be implemented at county or state levels, and some are more readily achievable than others. All have the same end: to expand the franchise, and make sure that every vote is counted." 5-05

  15. Essay - Democracy's Abu Ghraib (CommonWonders.com - Koehler)
      " 'That was when they suspended the Constitution. They said it would be temporary. There wasn’t even any rioting in the streets. People stayed home at night, watching television, looking for some direction. There wasn’t even an enemy you could put your finger on.' — Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid’s Tale"

      "What if it could happen here?"

      "This is the disquieting question I hesitate to ask because, once asked, it pretty much changes everything. The answer roars in behind it, as obvious as a Florida hurricane, an Ohio twister, ripping up the complacent heart. What if it could? What if it did? I think of my daughter, quickly, guiltily, and the country she’d inherit. I can no longer stay on the sidelines. No breath comes easily afterward." 5-05

  16. Help America Vote Act (Oregon Elections)
      Provides the full text of the Help America Vote Act (HAVA), Public Law 107-252 of 2002. 1-05

  17. Help America Vote Act - Summary (Oregon Elections)
      Provides a summary of the Help America Vote Act (HAVA), Public Law 107-252 of 2002. 1-05

  18. Largest Cities and Counties by State (InfoPlease.com)
      Provides information for campaigns. 09-06

  19. Open Source Voting Resources (OpenVotingConsortium.org)
      "The Open Voting Consortium (OVC) is a non-profit organization dedicated to the development, maintenance, and delivery of open voting systems for use in public elections." 5-05

  20. Oregon - Comparison of Undervotes by Ballot Type (Oregon Elections)
      Compares the percent of undervotes by punch card, paper, and optical scan ballots, county by county.1-05

  21. Oregon - Mail-In Voting Guide (Oregon Elections)
      Provides a voter's guide to the Oregon mail-in system.1-05

  22. Problems with Electronic Voting Machines - "Myth Breakers" (VotersUnite.org)
      Provides a discussion of the key problems with electronic voting. 3-05

  23. Problems with Electronic Voting Machines - "Myth Breakers" Summary (VotersUnite.org)
      Provides a discussion of the key problems with electronic voting. 3-05

  24. Some Suggestions on Election Reform (Common Cause)
      Common Cause recommends standards for future elections. "We believe that the ballot of record, used in all recounts and audits, should be the paper ballot that the voter verified." 01-07

  25. Study: Arguments for Paper Ballots and Hand Counting (NewScientist.com)
      "The US researchers conclude: 'As a society, we must carefully consider the risks inherent in electronic voting, as it places our very democracy at risk.' "

      Editor's Note: This article was published in July, 2003, before the 2004 election. 1-05

  26. Top Five Things You Can Do to Protect an Elecdtion (BlackBoxVoting.org)
      "Government is the servant of the people, and not the master of them. The people, in delegating authority, do not give their public servants the right to decide what is good for the people to know and what is not good for them to know. We insist on remaining informed so that we may retain control over the instruments of government we have created." 07-08

  27. Voter Confidence and Increased Accessibility Act of 2007: House Bill 811 (Thomas.loc.gov)
      "Voter Confidence and Increased Accessibility Act of 2007 - Amends the Help America Vote Act of 2002 (HAVA) with respect to: (1) ballot verification and mandatory paper record audit capacity; and (2) accessibility and ballot verification of results for individuals with disabilities." 06-07

  28. Voting Machines Study (CalTech-MIT)
      "This report examines the use of voting equipment and the incidence of spoiled and unmarked ballots associated with that equipment. We call the rate of spoiled and unmarked ballots the residual vote rate. The residual vote rate is not a pure measure of voter error. If voting technologies are not producing voter mistakes or confusion, the residual vote rate should be unrelated to equipment. The study covers election results from over 2700 counties and municipalities in the 1988, 1992, 1996, and 2000 presidential elections." 3-05

Projects
  1. -06-17-06 Petition for Hand Re-Count Where Election Laws Were Violated (VelvetRevolution)
      "It has come to my attention that the Busby-Bilbray special election in CA-50 on June 6th was conducted on Diebold voting machines, many if not all of which were left unsecured in the homes, cars and offices of poll workers in the weeks prior to the election. Diebold touchscreen and optical scan machines have been proven by California's own Secretary of State to be unreliable in the field and vulnerable to hacking in unsecure environments. Because improper procedures were used in this election, no one has proof that these machines were not subject to memory card switches or other easy tampering techniques such as manipulating the counters. Americans deserve to know their elections are counted accurately. No matter the results." 06-06

  2. -Let America Vote Act (BradBlog.com)
      "For the November 7, 2006, General Election, each election jurisdiction shall be required to prepare and print Emergency Paper Ballots of the proper ballot style for all races and propositions which shall be contested in that jurisdiction."

      Editor's Note: When voting machines fail, we must have a backup plan. The Let America Vote Act is such a plan. It requires election officials to have enough paper ballots on hand so that if a legally registered voter cannot vote on the voting machine, the person can still vote by paper ballot. 09-06

  3. Election Reform Representatives by State (51CapitalMarch.com)
      Provides contacts for assisting with election reform efforts by state. 01-06

  4. Election Reform by Group (51CapitalMarch.com)
      Provides contacts for assisting with election reform efforts by group and by state and group. (See the left-hand column.) 01-06

  5. Exit Poll "Errors" Start When Electronic Voting Starts? (CommonDreams.com)
      "Maybe George W. and Jeb Bush, Alabama's new Republican governor Bob Riley, and a small but congressionally decisive handful of other long-shot Republican candidates around the country really did win those states where conventional wisdom and straw polls showed them losing in the last few election cycles, but computer controlled voting or ballot-reading machines showed them winning."

      "Perhaps, after a half-century of fine-tuning exit polling to such a science that it's now used to verify if elections are clean in Third World countries, it really did suddenly become inaccurate in the United States in the past few years and just won't work here anymore. Perhaps it's just a coincidence that the sudden rise of inaccurate exit polls happened around the same time corporate-programmed, computer-controlled, modem-capable voting machines began recording and tabulating ballots." 'Throughout election night, the national exit poll showed the Massachusetts senator leading President Bush by 51 percent to 48 percent. But when all the votes were counted, it was Bush who won by slightly less than three percentage points.' 3-05

   
       


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