Re: Why I am a Poll Worker

From: Alan Dechert <dechert_at_gmail_dot_com>
Date: Mon May 22 2006 - 22:34:07 CDT

The security issues with vote by mail are notorious. Most of the documented
cases of vote fraud in recent decades involve vote by mail.

The basic problem is that custody of the ballots is lost from the time they
are mailed to voters to the time they are received back by officials. There
is no way to track who all touches the ballots. In San Mateo County CA, a
voter can go to the Internet and check to see that their ballot was received
after it was mailed back. This is an improvement, but how many other ways
can such ballots be lost or corrupted?

Besides that, early voting, which vote by mail encourages, is a problem. In
a radio program I was on last week, Jill LaVine, Registrar for Sacramento
County, said that voters sometimes call and say they want to change their
vote. They voted early but by Election Day they changed their mind. Excuse
me, but this is voter disenfranchisement. Voters being sold early voting
are also at risk of casting a ballot that they will regret. This is one of
many instances where election officials push something that makes life
easier for them but increases corruption of the vote count.

A secure voting system is not something we have or not in black and white
terms. We'll get the best system possible through a variety of improvements
involving laws, technology, procedures, audit protocols, institutionalized
public scrutiny, and, transparency, in general. Vote by mail and early
voting are attractive for several reasons but should be minimized in order
to achive the most secure and least corrupt vote count possible.

BTW, Election Day poll site voting is best but, thanks to modern technology,
does not make it impossible to prove a vote to a potential vote buyer. It
would be quite easy, with a digital camera, for a voter to make a video
recording of the voting experience including showing how the ballot was
marked. This could be tough to spot given that some of these cheap cameras
resemble a pen.

Alan D.

> Hi,
> The problem with a "vote by mail" (or "vote by internet") system is that
> each person's vote is trivial to sell or give to another person (willingly
> or not).
> By bringing people to the polls, you have a truly secret ballot that is
> owned only by the voter. The voter is protected from anyone who might try
> to
> coerce him/her. Selling a vote in this case becomes impossible because
> there
> is no proof of which way the voter voted to the potential purchaser.
> - Chris
> -----Original Message-----
> From:
> []
> On
> Behalf Of Edmund R. Kennedy
> Sent: Monday, May 22, 2006 12:40 PM
> To: Open Voting Consortium discussion list
> Subject: Re: [OVC-discuss] Why I am a Poll Worker
> Hello:
> I'm being a poll worker for the 3rd time June, 6. The
> last time I was a 'machine inspector' but this time I
> categroically refused to have anything to do with the
> Diebold Touch Screens. The printers are still bolted
> on junk that jam repeatedly. Besides, I don't want to
> be sued for disenfranchising someone. Frankly, I
> think the best approach is 'vote by mail'. All this
> stuff about the 'civic virtue' of seeing you neighbors
> vote is a bunch of eye wash.
> Thanks, Ed Kennedy.
> --- wrote:
>> Hi Arthur,
>> I made a similar decision to become a poll worker in
>> 1986. I started out as a ballot counter, counting
>> paper ballots after the polls closed. Eventually, I
>> became an Election Judge. The experience was well
>> worth it.
>> --
>> Kurt
>> This email sent using 100%
>> recycled electrons.
>> -------------- Original message from Arthur Keller
>> <>: --------------
>> > I wrote this blurb for Mainstreet Moms. I thought
>> some of you would
>> > be interested in it.
>> >
>> > Like many of you, I've been increasingly
>> interested in doing what I
>> > can to ensure the integrity of our elections, by
>> promoting paper
>> > trails or paper ballots and public disclosure of
>> election systems and
>> > processes. However, I realized that I didn't
>> really understand how
>> > elections worked unless I actually worked in them.
>> So I called up my
>> > local Registrar of Voters to volunteer on Election
>> Day. After a 3.5
>> > hour training class, I was ready to work in the
>> polls. It was a
>> > fascinating experience, and I learned a lot about
>> the real issues of
>> > how elections are run and what the problems are.
>> In particular, I
>> > learned firsthand how electronic voting machines
>> worked and are used,
>> > and I can now talk about my concerns about trade
>> secret voting
>> > machines in a more informed manner than before.
>> The next election, I
>> > was selected to be a precinct inspector, so I was
>> actually in charge
>> > of a polling place, and I was the one who made
>> sure that all voters
>> > had an easy time voting, and I hand delivered the
>> election results to
>> > the collection point while another poll worker
>> trailed me to ensure
>> > they arrived safely and intact. I certainly don't
>> work the 6am to
>> > 9pm-plus day for the pay, particularly since I
>> donate my pay to the
>> > Open Voting Consortium. Rather, I will serve again
>> because the
>> > security and integrity of our elections depends on
>> the people who
>> > care participating in its detailed processes, and
>> that means
>> > volunteering to staff my local poll on Election
>> Day. I recently went
>> > to poll worker training and some of the longtime
>> poll workers there
>> > were criticizing the new California requirement
>> for paper trails
>> > because of the "unnecessary" extra work for poll
>> workers. Unless
>> > those of us volunteer who favor strong security
>> measures, the
>> > counties are stuck with poll workers who favor
>> expedience over
>> > security. I hope you'll join me as a volunteer
>> poll worker in your
>> > area to help keep our democracy vibrant.
>> >
>> > Arthur Keller
>> >
>> > --
>> >
> ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
> ---
>> > Arthur M. Keller, Ph.D., 3881 Corina Way, Palo
>> Alto, CA 94303-4507
>> > tel +1(650)424-0202, fax +1(650)424-0424
>> > _______________________________________________
>> > OVC-discuss mailing list
>> >
>> >
>> _______________________________________________
>> OVC-discuss mailing list
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Received on Wed May 31 23:17:05 2006

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