FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: The Election Integrity Audit

From: Kathy Dopp <kathy_dot_dopp_at_gmail_dot_com>
Date: Mon Sep 25 2006 - 10:17:56 CDT

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 9/25/06
CONTACT: Kathy Dopp (435) 658-4657 kathy@ElectionArchive.org
ORGANIZATION: The National Election D ata Archive

The Election Integrity Audit

The National Election Data Archive's Kathy Dopp and Frank Stenger
developed a method for calculating election audit sizes that would
detect any electronic miscount that could alter an election outcome,
for all auditable voting systems, particularly when voters verify that
their paper ballot records are correct.

http://uscountvotes.org/ucvInfo/release/ElectionIntegrityAudit-release.pdf

Salt Lake City, Utah 9/25/06 - The elections industry is the only
major industry not routinely subjected to independent manual audits.
In any field, electronic mistakes or tampering would go undetected in
the absence of audits. Banks, churches and businesses are subjected to
routine independent audits to detect and prevent errors and
embezzlement.

Virtually all U.S. votes will be counted electronically by 2008.
Electronic voting systems make it possible for one person to rig a
state-wide election and for electronic errors and failures to produce
wrong results.

Vote counts determine who controls budgets of millions to trillions of
dollars. Yet only perhaps fifteen states conduct any audits manual
checks - of vote count accuracy and their procedures are not
sufficient to detect wrongfully altered outcomes in close races. In
some states audit procedures are not independent; audit results are
not made public; audit results are not used to correct discrepancies
found between manual and electronic vote counts; or the audits are
performed after election results are certified.

The lack of detailed election audits is especially alarming in light
of the fact that U.S. jurisdictions publicly report vote counts
aggregated in a way that hides evidence of vote count errors, machine
problems, and tampering. Forensic analysis of election data - broken
out by precinct and by vote type could be used to reveal significant
irregular patterns that result from partisan vote padding,
under-votes, or vote-switching. However, because no jurisdictions
routinely release these detailed election results, candidates would
need to contest their elections; make legal open records requests to
obtain the data; and have it analyzed all prior to conceding. (See
http://electionarchive.org/ucvAnalysis/US/election_officials/ElectionArchive_advice.pdf)

Solution: The National Election Data Archive (NEDA)'s Kathy Dopp and
Frank Stenger developed a solution for calculating vote count audit
sample sizes to ensure electronic vote count integrity in all
auditable voting systems, particularly when voters verify that their
paper ballot records are correct. Properly calculated and conducted
audits hand counts of paper ballots performed to check the accuracy
of electronic vote counts - can be performed in jurisdictions using
audit-able voting systems.

"The Election Integrity Audit" method has been supported by the work
of Roy Saltman, who was instrumental in initiating the first federal
engineering and procedural performance standards for voting systems
and who proposed similar election audit size calculations in 1975 (See
Appendix B in http://csrc.nist.gov/publications/nistpubs/NBS_SP_500-30.pdf);
and by Ron Rivest of the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence
Laboratory at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology whose
September 2006 paper "Estimating the Size of a Statistical Audit"
proposes similar election audit size estimation that can be done with
a calculator (See
http://theory.csail.mit.edu/%7Erivest/Rivest-OnEstimatingTheSizeOfAStatisticalAudit.pdf);
and by Howard Stanislevic who proposed a similar method in August
2006. (See http://www.votetrustusa.org/pdfs/VTTF/EVEPAuditing.pdf) The
election audit calculation work of Dopp and Stenger is new because it
provides a numerical method to directly calculate the optimal election
audit size.

The closer a race, the smaller the amount of vote miscount that could
alter the outcome; and the harder the miscount is to detect.
Therefore, races with closer margins between winners and losers
require larger audits. Election officials and candidates can use a
program available on ElectionArchive.org to calculate the optimal
audit size to verify the accuracy of any election outcome at
http://electionarchive.org/auditcalculator/eic.cgi

The National Election Data Archive is a not-for-profit, nonpartisan
organization devoted to promoting scientific means to ensure
election-outcome accuracy. Its "Election Integrity Audit" paper can
be found at
http://electionarchive.org/ucvAnalysis/US/paper-audits/ElectionIntegrityAudit.pdf.

National Election Data Archive (NEDA)
 ElectionArchive.org
501(c)(3) status approved
Contact: Kathy Dopp kathy@uscountvotes.org 435-658-4657

The National Election Data Archive is a scientific research project
whose mission is to ensure the accuracy of elections in America
through development and promotion of mathematical means to ensure
accurate vote counts and the creation and analysis of a database
containing precinct-level election data broken out by vote type for
the entire United States. NEDA is seeking funds to complete a
nationwide system for mathematically monitoring election results.

This press release is available on-line at

http://uscountvotes.org/ucvInfo/release/ElectionIntegrityAudit-release.pdf
or
http://www.prweb.com/releases/2006/9/prweb441769.htm

-- 
----
Kathy Dopp
http://electionarchive.org
National Election Data Archive
Dedicated to Accurately Counting Elections
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Please donate or volunteer.
"Enlighten the people generally, and tyranny and oppressions of body
and mind will vanish like evil spirits at the dawn of day," wrote
Thomas Jefferson in 1816
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Received on Sat Sep 30 23:17:06 2006

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