With electronic voting, we added speed, but lost a huge amount of integrity. Additional mischief and errors were made possible on a massive scale--and in a way that is undetectable. However, we can now fix the problem of integrity and create more integrity than has ever been possible in our nation.
The Oregon Voter Rights Coalition (OregonVRC) has developed standards for assessing the integrity of elections procedures to help improve the credibility and integrity of elections in the United States:
1. Secure Ballots
A. Paper Ballots
·Voter-verified paper ballots must be the ballots of record. Paper ballots must be stored in secure containers.1
B. Secure Chain of Custody of Ballots
·Nonpartisan, professional staff2 must supervise access to the ballots at all times.
·Checks and balances must prevent partisan control of the ballots.
·Ballots must be secure from all known avenues of tampering: electronic, manual, or otherwise.
2. Independent Audits
A. Audits of Paper Ballots
·Every election shall be audited by scientifically determined samples of hand-counted paper ballots. 3 Audits shall be conducted by independent experts in survey research to serve as checks against machine errors, human errors, voter suppression, and partisan tampering.
·If the reported results are outside the margin of error for a sample, a complete hand-count of the voter-verified paper ballots is required for each county where the error or discrepancy occurred.
·The independent auditors must report the results to the public within 24 hours of the closing of polls.
B. Exit Polls
·Every election shall be audited by scientifically conducted exit polls. The polls shall be conducted by independent experts in survey research to serve as checks against machine errors, human errors, voter suppression, and partisan tampering. Scientifically conducted exit polls are accurate within 1/2 of one percent of the reported results when there is no error in the reported results.
·If the reported results are outside the margin of error, a complete hand count of the voter-verified paper ballots is required for each county where the error occurred.
·The independent researchers must report the results to the public within 24 hours of the closing of the polls.
1For absentee ballots and vote-by-mail, the "secure container" may be the mailbox.
2Nonpartisan, professional staff must be selected based on their elections expertise and without regard to political affiliation.
3"Scientific" means that standard operating procedures are used by a recognized expert in survey research to validly and reliably project the outcome of the election within a standard error of 1/2 of one percent. Audits are sometimes referred to as "mandatory random manual recounts." In addition to the audits, test ballots must be used to verify the accuracy of the elections machinery and software. Test ballots, however, do not reveal malicious code, tabulation errors, manual ballot handling errors, and other sources of error. For this reason, audits are also needed.