Re: Re: Emergency Measures To Protect The 2004 Vote Count (EM2004)

From: Ellen Theisen <ellent_at_olympus_dot_net>
Date: Fri Sep 03 2004 - 22:05:07 CDT

> > Hand counted paper ballots for FEDERAL offices in the 2004 election!
> > We need your participation to make it happen.
> I think this group is making a big mistake. Hand-counted paper ballots
> are open to serious problems with clerical errors and if they are not
> counted at the precinct immediately after the polls close, they are open
> to lots of classic forms of fraud.

The proposed provisions also require counting at the precinct and posting
results at the precinct.

> Hand recounts, as required as spot-checks in California, and hand
> recounts
> of single contested races are a very different matter from hand counts
> of entire general election ballots, or event the federal portion of
> entire ballots, as these people seem to be proposing.
> Not that it can't be done, but I trust precinct-count machine-counted
> paper ballots more than I trust hand counts for the routine counting.

I don't.

> Furthermore, in the short run, between now and November, I believe
> that this campaign is asking for trouble. Pollworker training is
> already
> under way in some jurisdicitons, and absentee ballots will be mailed out
> in just one month in many others. Changes in election procedure are
> never
> a good idea this close to a general election.
> A responsible institution of hand-counted paper ballots would require
> that training manuals be in place for those who will count now, so that
> training can be done over the next two months to get things ready for
> the big day. Those manuals are not in place now! It is not trivial to
> put such a manual in place -- it requires lawyers, technical writers
> and election experts. I'd guess a bad manual would take a week or two
> to put together, while a good one is at least a month's work, probably
> more. I'd rather not run an important election using a bad manual. Do
> it right or don't do it.

There are well developed procedures in counties that count paper ballots by
hand every election. In fact, counties that occasionally do manual recounts
by hand have procedures for doing them. While they may not do them often,
they have established ways of doing them when they need to. I have spoken
with several election directors of the paper ballot counties. One said the
procedures were so simple and obvious her county didn't even have written
versions. While the procedures for using electronic voting are very
complicated and need a great deal of training, showing people how to read
the vote on a ballot, or mark a tick mark on a tally sheet really goes fast.

> About the only thing that makes sense, at this point, is to freeze the
> technology being used and concentrate on (with only two months left)
> critical examination of election procedures, and monitoring.
> Doug Jones
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Received on Thu Sep 30 23:17:02 2004

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