Does Your Vote Count?

Here we go for a third election here in Santa Clara County using electronic voting. We still do not have a paper trail (as in “capable of being audited”) to allow for a true recount. Why is this? Why would the people in charge of elections chose a system that doesn’t provide it. ITS CRIMINAL in my opinion! These same machines are used all over the country.
When Mr Bush was “re-elected” last year, why is it that, evidently, the exit pole numbers differed from the election results by approximately 5% only where there was electronic voting without a paper trail? There were reports of machines having vote counts in them before the polls opened. Again in today’s election, when our governator, Mr Schwarzenegger, tried to cast his vote he was told he had already voted. Supposedly his name was used to “test” the system? If thats so, why did the data still exist when it should have been cleared before the election? How many other votes pre-existed? Did his previous vote get removed?
This worries me greatly. This used to be a democratic government. If the votes don’t really count then democracy doesn’t exist. What really amazes me is that we have more security in our state lottery results that we do with our voting system.
It’s not who votes that counts, it’s who counts the votes.

***** A Better IDEA *****

Here is what I think would make for an honest election that every voter could have confidence in. First, let me say, I’m a believer in electronic voting, I just think the system has to be designed properly. The current systems are not.
The key is for a voter to be able to verify that their vote exists in the data and that the choices are the ones they made. Further, the public should be able to see all the votes, download the data and perform their own counts if they desire.
This can be accomplished quite easily while still providing anonymous voting. It would allow for a means for any citizen to challenge the vote results, with proof.
Obviously, the key is a trail. When you vote, you get a printed ticket with a vote ID number and the vote choices. There would not be a relation between the voter and the vote ID just a ticket with the votes and an ID number. The voter, or anyone else, would immediately be able to check the votes via the Internet by browsing to a page showing a group of vote ID numbers and the votes each recorded. In fact, all vote data could be seen and downloaded for analysis. The key to anonymity is that no one could identify who voted, only the votes that were cast. That is, except for the fact that a voter could confirm their own vote using the ID number on their ticket. No one could monitor who browsed where and use it to identify how they voted because the data would only be presented in groups of votes. Only the voter would now which was their vote. The voter could then confirm that the choices were their own choices. If not, then hang the Chief of Elections and hold another election. Another key to this is that voters take the responsibility to check their vote results to confirm their vote was actually counted. Any voter could download the data and make their own count and check the results against the reported results.
This would not limit who manufactures the voting machines, they should all be designed to the same standard. The data is what is important. Even more importantly, the validity and honesty of the results is what is important.
There are probably other methods that would work as effectively but can anyone explain to me why we ended up with the systems we have. They are so obviously weak in providing any of the capabilities needed to insure an honest election, which I would have thought was the entire purpose.

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