Fequently Asked Questions
Why Do Informed Citizens Oppose Electronic
1. Why are
you against evoting?
electronic voting systems prevent appropriate public and multipartisan
observation of vote-recording and vote-counting, which are the only way to
achieve public confidence in election integrity, and the only way any democracy
can achieve legitimacy of elections and its representative government. It is a disgrace that allegations of fraud
were raised after our November 2004 election, and could not be either proved or
disproved. It means that the legitimacy of the election, and our current
government, will always be in doubt.
evoting systems don't work reliably.
Here is a 97-page list of documented failures of evote systems, arranged
by vendor. http://www.votersunite.org/info/messupsbyvendor.asp
is an overview analysis of the recurring themes in the 97-page list of
documented failures. http://www.wheresthepaper.org/RecurringThemes.htm
should evote machines be 100% audited for 100% accuracy?
by four Yale students shows that if only one vote is shifted per machine in a
statewide race, the outcome of many races can be shifted. Only evoting technology gives one person the
power to shift one vote per machine in an entire state, in a matter of seconds
or minutes. Older voting technology would not have made this kind of insidious,
undetectable fraud possible. http://www.wheresthepaper.org/p43-di_franco.pdf
(may require Adobe 6.0, or try to download it and then click on the icon in
your Windows Explorer)
Here is an
analysis of the study, applying it to one state, New York, and helping to
explain why if evote machines are used they must be 100% accurate. http://www.wheresthepaper.org/CACM_YaleStudy.htm
3. Why are
you against privatization of elections, and what does privatization mean
of elections means that the management and staff of our boards of elections
don't know how to use their own equipment, and are forced to depend on vendor
technicians to manage the equipment and run elections. To avoid privatization
we must ban vendor service contracts, and prohibit the purchase and use of
evote systems unless Board of Elections management and staff have been trained
and have achieved a suitable level of competence. We require people to prove competence before driving a car, but
we let Boards of Elections use equipment that they can't control -- and there
have been too many accidents with our precious democracy. Our law must require vendors to provide
thorough training in the software and management of their evote systems. Our law must fund and require training of
all election staff BEFORE these systems are used.
Here is an
article that describes what happened in one case, Hocking County, Ohio, when
non-technical elections people did not know how to manage their own computer
"Ohio Recount Stirs Trouble" by Kim Zetter, Wired News, Dec. 20,
2004. See especially page 4.
computer systems always work?
No, in fact,
72% of software projects in a typical year, 2000, were complete or partial
failures, including 23% that were completely abandoned after huge expenditures
(and waste) of time and money. Regarding partial failures, if a computer system
“partially” doesn’t work, that means it doesn’t work. http://www.pbs.org/cringely/pulpit/pulpit20031204.html
"Why the Current Touch Screen Voting Fiasco Was Pretty Much
Inevitable" by Robert X. Cringely, December 4, 2003.
works with Microsoft Windows knows that computers don’t always work!
federal certification mean that an evote system works?
interview with executives of MicroVote (a company that makes evoting equipment)
reveals that federal certification requires an evote system to have certain
functions, such as the ability to detect overvotes and undervotes, but does not
have anything to do with guaranteeing that the system works. Moreover, the states don't have the expertise
to understand the federal certification process, or perform more rigorous
testing at the state level.
, See the section on Testing.
6. Do evote
systems cost much more than other voting technologies?
Myerson compared two Florida counties’ expenditures for maintaining and
operating evoting systems versus paper ballots with optical scanners.. She showed that the evote county spent $1.1
million more per year. http://www.votersunite.org/info/costcomparison.asp
7. Don’t we
need evoting technology to enable voters with disabilities to cast a private
and independent vote, as required by the Help America Vote Act of 2002 (HAVA)?
the act of voting, and the quality of that experience, is not enough to protect
citizens’ right to vote. We must take a
broader view in order to ensure that all votes are actually counted. This report
called "Placebo Ballots" from Demos shows that in 2004 many people
had the experience of marking a provisional ballot, which was later discarded
and not counted. http://www.demos-usa.org/pubs/HAVA
- Placebo Ballots bw 101904.pdf
and independent voting experience is no benefit to voters with disabilities if
they get nothing but a placebo experience and a placebo ballot.
When we use
electronic voting without Voter-Verified Paper Ballots (“VVPB”) and 100% audits
for 100% accuracy, every voter may rightfully question whether or not they have
cast a placebo ballot. Moreover an
election lacks legitimacy, due to the lack of appropriate public observation of
election procedures, when computers are used without VVPB and publicly-observed
ballot-marking machines such as the Automark enable voters with special needs
to mark the same kind of paper ballot that is used by other voters in paper
ballot/optical scan election systems, as well as for absentee and provisional
8. Show me a
list of provisions that should be in our law.
should ban all electronic voting and vote-tabulating systems that prevents
appropriate, direct, meaningful observation of vote-recording and vote-counting
by multipartisan non-technical observers.
Here is a
sample list of provisions required for use of electronic voting in a way that
does not undermine election legitimacy, from New York state. http://www.wheresthepaper.org/NYwantsLegislationTo.htm
of auditing evote computers, why can’t we simply compare exit polls to actual
tallies in order to prove the accuracy of vote tallies?
precinct vote-tally information may be difficult to obtain, due to Boards of
Elections refusing to provide it, and long waits for their compliance with
Freedom of Information requests. Timely accurate polling information in the
major media may be corrupt. For example, it appears that CNN changed their exit
poll data for Ohio after 1 AM, November 3, 2004. http://www.buzzflash.com/analysis/04/11/ana04025.html
10. How can
I learn more about evoting, and the requirements of the Help America Vote Act?
Here is a
14-page overview of problems with evoting. http://www.wheresthepaper.org/Evoting_BadForDemocracy.htm
Here is the
report Myth Breakers: Facts About Electronic Elections http://www.votersunite.org/MB2.pdf