Election Integrity Blog

Please check your e-mail for a link to activate your account.

Did an electronic miscount defeat Cantor? We'll never know.

Cantor.jpgNews coverage of Eric Cantor’s defeat in Virginia’s 7th Congressional District primary provides one of the most dramatic displays of mass psychological denial you are ever likely to witness.  

After declaring the 56%-44% results to be “astonishing”, “a shocker”, “stunning”, and “historically unprecedented” the pundits go on to make dozens of guesses about how unknown Tea Party challenger Dave Brat knocked off the sitting House Majority Leader.

But if you check the dozens of hypotheticals floated by the New York Times, the Washington Post, CNN, on and on, —you will find no mention of the possibility of electronic miscount.

Can you think of a single other use of computers in business or government where output so dramatic and so unexpected would lead no one to ask, “Are we sure those computers were working right?”

 

Read more
3 reactions Share

It happens all the time: Interview with the consultant who discovered the Medford miscount

I’ve told the story of the 2004 Medford, Wisconsin election miscount often enough that I figured it was time to call the people involved and get some first-hand details. Fortunately, the principals are still on the job: Bruce Strama is still Taylor County Clerk, despite having had to deal with what must be a clerk’s nightmare: telling more than 600 of his most partisan constituents he hadn’t counted their votes. The vendor had misprogrammed Medford’s voting machines to ignore straight-party-ticket votes on the November 2004 ballot, which included a presidential election. Strama didn't discover the problem, though. We can credit Mark Grebner for that, who is still with the political consulting firm that first noticed the anomaly while using Taylor County's election records to compile voter lists.

Read more
6 reactions Share

We've requested GAB stop saying local officials cannot verify their machines' accuracy

In the eight months since we released our report on post-election auditing, Jim Mueller and I have been working to keep post-election audits on the radar of the members of the Government Accountability Board. Here's where things stand in early April:

Read more
Add your reaction Share

2013 Accomplishments; 2014 Plans

2014Odometer.jpgThe Election Integrity Action Team made some good progress in 2013--I'm most pleased with GAB's increased interest in post-election auditing (which I suspect is ENTIRELY our doing!) and with the groundwork we laid for an educational program to increase our fellow citizens' awareness of the issues with privatized electronic vote-counting.

Read more
2 reactions Share

Time to speak up about the 2012 Citizen's Recount of the Walker Recall

Conversations at last week’s Democracy Convention made me very grateful that Wisconsin's marked ballots are open records. Citizen monitoring of elections can be impossible when that is not the case. In one state—I cannot even remember which one, I was so shocked at the information—ballots cast through voting machines become the property of the machine vendor! (What muddled brain ever thought that served any public interest?)

I have heard that Wisconsin legislators are considering making it much more expensive for citizens to view marked ballots after an election. We need to find out more about this proposal and get it stopped. While publicly observed official audits after each election should be a routine element of elections management, it's still important that citizens are able to verify the results independently at no great cost.

My sense is this bad legislation was prompted in large part by the badly managed 2012 Recall Election Citizen’s Recount, financed by Wisconsin Wave.

Read more
Add your reaction Share

Report: Post-election audit practices

The Election Integrity Action Team recently released its report on our observations of last year's post-election voting-machine audits. The observers were: Karen McKim, Jim Mueller, Brek Renzelman, Mary Lou Sharpee, and OmaVic McMurray. I (Karen) drafted the report, and the others commented and edited it. We provided GAB staff with a pre-release draft of the report, and they provided several helpful comments.

Read more
Add your reaction Share

Words that work: "Appropriate technology"

I was surprised—but probably shouldn’t have been—by a 20-something activist in one of Friday’s election-integrity workshops at the Democracy Convention in Madison last week. He had politely listened to about 15 minutes of discussion before he offered his own opinion: “I would be okay with Internet voting,” he said, “if I could print and keep a copy of my ballot.” Of course, just one question—

Read more
Add your reaction Share

Reps Pocan, Ellison introduce Right-to-Vote Amendment

Pull out your copy of the US Constitution and look for the right to vote. You won't find it. Our founding fathers neglected to mention it until America decided on some reasons it couldn't be abridged: race, color, or previous condition of servitude and later gender, failure to pay taxes, and being under the age of 21.

Sadly, the fact that our Constitution many times mentions the right to vote--but never gets around to explicitly saying there is one--has allowed some hyper-partisans the opportunity to try to limit it. Mark Pocan and Keith Ellison have introduced an amendment to change this. It says:

Read more
Add your reaction Share

"Mission and Values" statement for the EI Action Team

This morning, a small group of EI activists, some of whom have been active in the WGN EI workgroup's projects, met in Monona to discuss strategy for making the WGN EI Action Team bigger, stronger, and more effective.

A Statement of Mission and Values is one of the things we believe will help current members, potential members, interested citizens, and public officials understand our work better--

Read more
1 reaction Share

Watch out for this one in Wisconsin!

If you locked me alone in a quiet room for a month and promised me a million dollars to come up with new ways to suppress the vote, I don't think I could come up with all the ideas being churned out by anti-democracy legislators around the nation. 

This news from North Carolina, where Duke University and UNC attract many out-of-state college students:

Read more
Add your reaction Share