Re: suggested proposals for federal election integrity legislation

From: Danny Swarzman <danny_at_stowlake_dot_com>
Date: Sat Nov 25 2006 - 02:44:17 CST


I'm not sure how useful this is but here's an attempt. I'm newbie in
the discussion about elections. I'm keen to learn more. I can't
devote much time to this this weekend but here' s a stab at saying
this in a simpler style. I know it is over-simplified but...


Congress should establish a committee with a mandate to certify
specific technical criteria for voting and counting votes. It will
provide certification programs for elections auditors. It will
provide tools and procedures to report all the information gathered
in during the process. It will also gather reports from all districts
and make all the data publicly available.

The committee should be comprised of experts in relevant fields such
as mathematics, software and hardware verification, data security,
and game theory, etc.

The election process must be auditable. There must be an audit trail
of everything that occurs in the installation and configuration of
equipment, voting, processing of votes, and final manual
verification. All these steps are done in full view of independent
observers. There must be no detail in the process that is hidden from
independent observers.

Auditors need to be able to examine a record of all equipment
failures, voter complaints and breakdowns in the process.

Paper ballots are required. Separate devices are provided to aid
visually-impaired voters in producing and verifying paper ballots.
The requirement for paper ballots may add costs to some
jurisdictions. The legislation provides funds for this.

Manual recounts must be independent and transparent. The number of
ballots and sampling decisions must conform to prescribed criteria.

The criteria specified by this body will serve as useful metric for
all elections. Use of certification procedures is mandated for
congressional and presidential elections.

All software must publicly disclosed–the source code including
everything that is needed to build all programs in use.

The committee will define procedures to guarantee against tampering
and other errors in response to the analysis of the data it receives
from the districts it certifies.

On Nov 24, 2006, at 6:21 PM, Kathy Dopp wrote:

> Everyone,
> By next Tuesday I must put together a brief summary for proposed
> federal election integrity legislation for two different persons
> who are going to meet with fairly powerful US Congressmen next week
> and who have offered to hand-carrry my ideas for federal election
> reform to the them.
> Please help me reword and edit my list, give your thoughts and
> suggestions on it, and also please your recommendations for experts
> who could help craft specific wording for each legislative
> proposal. Whatever we create, might be ignored after I give it to
> them, but perhaps not, so please help me by:
> 1. suggesting changes/edits to my list, and
> 2. suggesting specific experts (with contact info) who could help
> evaluate the exact wording for each item on the list of suggested
> federal legislative proposals.
> It must be short - perhaps one page 2-sided including the list of
> experts. I will run this two-pager by everyone when it is done and
> ask anyone who would like to support it, to sign onto it
> officially, if you would like (I would add a page if people opt to
> sign onto it).
> Here is my proposed short list. I can send anyone the word doc if
> you would like to help with it. I would very much appreciate your
> help in suggesting names of experts who would like to help craft
> the specifics of each item to recommend to the legislators as well.
> Thank you.
> --------
> Federal Legislation to Ensure Election Outcome Integrity & Voter
> Access
> Require independent, transparent, verifiable, sufficient,
> scientific manual audits of all machine vote counts in federal
> elections to ensure that electronic election outcomes are correct!
> (I can list what each of these adjectives require), and
> Require routine independent, transparent, verifiable reports and
> analysis of machine allocation, equipment failure and breakdown,
> undervote, overvote, and uncounted ballot rates, absentee and
> provisional ballot & voter registration handling, and other crucial
> measures of voter service, and
> Provide funds for upgrading voting systems for jurisdictions that
> have un-auditable voting systems, but only fund "fully-auditable"
> voting systems where all non-disabled voters directly record their
> own votes, so that the paper record of votes has been verified by
> voters (because electronic ballot systems with ballot printers
> remove voters from ballot creation and thus can be programmed to
> introduce errors that voters may not notice and which will subvert
> manual audits. The more the voter is removed from the process of
> casting the ballot, the more opportunity there is for error and
> fraud to occur on electronically created paper records). (Since
> almost all jurisdictions already use optical scan paper ballot
> systems for mail-in votes, most states could use these paper
> ballots immediately in the polls, so this only requires minimal
> federal funding for inexpensive systems for the disabled to vote
> privately and unassisted using ballot printing systems like
> telephone systems, voter assist devices like vote-PAD, or ballot
> printing devices like the AutoMARK)
> Provide funds for conducting manual, independent, transparent,
> verifiable, sufficient, scientific audits of machine vote counts
> and voter services in all federal elections.
> Teeth – only certify Presidential electors and swear in
> Congressional members from states that have conducted election
> audits as required – transparently, verifiably, sufficiently,
> independently, and scientifically
> Require election officials to make publicly available all election
> records that would reveal fraud or mistakes in federal elections, and
> Create a new reporting system and database for logging and publicly
> displaying and tabulating complaints of voters in federal elections
> (GAO create) and for publicly posting all auditable reports and
> audit reports required under this legislation, and
> Require state election officials to send all auditable and audit
> reports to the US GAO and require the US GAO to collect and
> publicly make available the detailed election data required for
> verifiable election audits, and
> Mandate publicly disclosed software (all software including boot-
> loader, drivers, operating systems, voting programs, etc.) for all
> voting systems as long as the rights needed under Copyright law (17
> USC 106) by evaluators are granted
> Outlaw any network connections to, and or wireless capability in,
> voting equipment and prohibit voting through any network connection
> or by faxing ballots to any office other than the local election
> office.
> Require qualified credentialed persons to staff the EAC's technical
> guideline development committee who have Ph.D.'s in computer
> engineering. (The current "experience" only requirement is
> analogous to hiring doctors who did not go to medical school or
> attorneys who did not pass the bar!)
> Require jurisdictions to allow non-partisan citizens to observe
> close-up or by verifiable, transparent close-up video, all aspects
> of elections: such as the real pre-election testing (not just the
> demos), the polls, the transfer of ballots to the central office,
> the tallying of the votes, manual audits, and any post-election
> testing. This requirement should include language that requires
> jurisdictions to allow genuine observation, not just presence in
> the room.
> Require a qualified degreed subcommittee of the U.S. EAC or of the
> U.S. GAO, the Vote Count Audit and Recount Committee, with PhD
> statisticians, mathematicians, computer scientists, and MS or MA
> degreed election integrity activists, gaming experts, and non-
> voting election officials whose functions include approving state
> election audit and recount procedures and policies for federal
> elections.
> Note: The details are very crucial and it is critical to consult
> with experts in each area for the precise wording of legislation,
> and not to believe anything that voting vendor lobbyists claim
> without independent verification by experts.
> List of experts for each numbered recommendation above follows:
> ----------------------------
> Thanks. Any help on this before Tuesday is highly appreciated.
> Please recommend some experts in each of the 13 items above.
> --
> ----
> Kathy Dopp
> National Election Data Archive
> Dedicated to Accurately Counting Elections
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Received on Thu Nov 30 23:17:12 2006

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