Re: Question: What basis should candidates use to decide whether to contest their elections?

From: Richard C. Johnson <dick_at_iwwco_dot_com>
Date: Sat Oct 21 2006 - 16:04:13 CDT

It would be reasonable for the election authorities to release any and all election records for the examination of the general public. Most election authorities have computer-readable records down to the precinct and sometimes the voting machine level. These records are and should be completely public; this is the key battle. Lawsuits and other means may be necessary, but I know of no reason not to disclose all information available.
  The creation of useful records--such as are generated by scanning and processing paper ballots--is obviously also a requirement.
  It is difficult to see any valid reason to withhold data after an election has been certified. States will want to be sure of a count before releasing data, but there should be a window for public examination of the data prior to certification. Once data are available for examination, it should be possible to prioritize elections deserving of protest. Obviously, it dissipates effort to contest all elections and yet without data no meaningful protest is likely.
  First, the public right to know must be established, as well as the right to generate records based on paper ballots. Then, it should be feasible to prioritize elections for challenge.
  Have at them!
  -- Dick

Kathy Dopp <> wrote:
  We want to write a press release that local election integrity groups could revise and release to advise the public that there is no basis of confidence in election results:

1. because no state currently conducts sufficient independent manual audits of electronic vote counts (see, and

2. because aggregated election results hide evidence of vote miscount and no state currently routinely releases the detailed vote counts required for independent forensic election analysis

so we will "recommend that candidates contest elections until after obtaining detailed vote counts and election records and doing forensic investigation to uncover any possible evidence of fraud or errors."

QUESTION: What criteria would you suggest we recommend to candidates to use for deciding whether or not to contest their elections and why?

Thank you. Any other suggestions or assistance editing this press release which will go along with state election data forensics projects will be highly appreciated. Please see

After this November, we hope that the candidates of all political parties will insist on doing forensic investigations prior to conceding so that the public can have some confidence that correctly elected candidates are sworn into office in January.

Thank you.

Kathy Dopp
National Election Data Archive
Dedicated to Accurately Counting Elections
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Received on Tue Oct 31 23:17:05 2006

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