Re: suggested proposals for federal election integrity legislation

From: Arthur Keller <voting_at_kellers_dot_org>
Date: Thu Nov 30 2006 - 17:30:26 CST

At 9:50 AM -0800 11/30/06, Ron Crane wrote:
>Arthur Keller wrote:
>>At 9:07 PM -0800 11/24/06, Ron Crane wrote:
>>>Our voting systems (and our elections generally)
>>>need to be under direct, constant citizen supervision, not solely under
>>>the supervision of experts. Experts are great as another layer of
>>>protection, but they should not constitute the sole layer.
>>Critically important is that anyone should be able to hire his or her
>>own expert, or to band together collectively to hire an expert.
>>Having only a few anointed experts is problematic, particularly based
>>on how those experts are chosen. After all, consider the expertise
>>of Alec Yasinsac, a Florida State University professor. Wouldn't it
>>be beneficial if Christine Jennings could hire her own expert?
>I agree on all points. But it's even better if elections can be
>directly and effectively supervised by ordinary citizens with no (or
>minimal) expert input. This approach minimizes the threat of
>election fraud and encourages citizens to inform themselves about
>and to supervise not only their elections, but their governments in
>general. It embodies a reversal of the modern tendency to delegate
>authority (and thus trust) to a distant, "professional"
>administrative state, and a return to the founding ideal of citizen

It is important to understand that direct and effective supervision
by ordinary citizens essentially does mean supervision by experts
chosen by the ordinary citizens. Few if any ordinary citizens will
show up to observe, but may fund experts to do that observation for
them. Experts who are trained to look for fradulent behavior that
the casual observer wouldn't notice. The question boils down to what
skill level is needed to be an effective observer other than plenty
of time on one's hands.

On another note, I am wondering what people on this list think about
all paper ballots (either hand-marked or computer-marked or
-printed); in-precinct cast ordinary ballots (not provisional, not
absentee) are scanned by in-precinct optical scan and then a
confirming hand count is made at the close of polls. The optical
scanner checks for blank ballots and overvotes.

The hand-count tally is a check on the computer tally and vice-versa.

Best regards,

"The man with one watch knows what time it is, but the man with two
watches is never sure."

Arthur M. Keller, Ph.D., 3881 Corina Way, Palo Alto, CA  94303-4507
tel +1(650)424-0202, fax +1(650)424-0424
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Received on Thu Nov 30 23:17:18 2006

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