Statement to the Voter Assistance Commission
June 28, 2007
Voter-verified paper audit trails (VVPAT) are essential when electronic voting machines are used, but they are not enough to make electronic voting machines OK.
Like many activists for election integrity, I started out advocating voter-verified paper audit trails. As time has passed, and I have learned more about electronic voting, I have come to understand that paper trails are not enough. We need real voter-marked paper ballots, and I am here today to urge you, Commissioners of the Voter Assistance Commission, to pass my information on to Mayor Bloomberg, and to all other people in positions of authority and influence.
I wish to make four points.
1. The new Sarah Everett studies from Rice University confirm previous studies that show that voters are unable to accurately verify electronic voting machinesí summary screens or paper trails. http://chil.rice.edu/research/pdf/EverettDissertation.pdf , www.bradblog.com/?p=4682
2. Even if accurate verification was assured, electronic voting machines, with or without paper trails, prevent appropriate citizen observation and understanding how votes are recorded, cast, stored, handled, and counted. Voters canít observe the recording and casting of their own votes and ballot. Election observers canít observe the storage, handling, and counting of the votes and ballots.
Meaningful observation is the basis of all election legitimacy. Historically, the only reason that elections have been conducted in a non-understandable or non-observable way has been to enable those who are running the election to commit fraud.
3. Verification of information on a touchscreen or on a paper trail are both placebo exercises, because neither is counted for initial tallies nor the vast majority of final tallies. Instead, invisible electronic votes inside the electronic voting machine, which voters cannot verify and observers cannot safeguard, determine election outcomes.
††††††† Since the Ciber testing laboratory scandal in January, 2007, we know that the certification testing process for nearly 70% of electronic voting equipment in America involved minimal if any testing and was meaningless. http://www.wheresthepaper.org/news.html#jan07† See also testimony at the May 7, 2007, Field Hearing on "Certification and Testing of Electronic Voting Systems" held by the Subcommittee on Information Policy, Census, and National Archives of the Committee on House Administration, U. S. House of Representatives, www.wheresthepaper.org/news.html#May7_07FieldHearing