The Blogiston Post

Politics, money, and war.

Wednesday, June 11


It does not matter if you are a Republican, Democrat, Independent, Green or Libertarian. Voting and how your vote is counted in the next election may not be to your liking.

Voter Registration

A postcard informing you of your place of voting is not an indication that you are registered. In the Presidential election of 2000, 94,000 people were purged from the voter rolls in Florida as convicted felons who had lost their right to vote. Of those, only 3,000 were justified. 91,000 voters were denied their civil rights to participate in the election and cast their ballot. So contact your local board of elections and be sure you are registered to vote.

While a subscription is required, Salon has an article by investigative reporter Greg Palast, author of The Best Democracy Money Can Buy, that goes into detail on voting irregularities in Florida during the 2000 election. The first chapter in pdf of The Best Democracy Money Can Buy is also available on-line.

Electronic Voting Machines

Electronic voting machines in their current form have no paper trail to audit in the event of a recount or voting irregularity. In other words, there is no way to verify that your vote was cast, counted, and the candidate you chose was reported. Sure the screen can say your vote was tabulated, but was it? How will you know?
Kim Alexander of the Cal-Voter Foundation in her editorial in the San Diego Union Tribune (October 20, 2002), "It seems reckless to experiment with paperless voting transactions in the one transaction that is most integral to living in a democracy. Few people would use ATMs if the content of their transaction was secret from their bank and there was no paper trail verifying the transaction. Yet this is exactly what we are asking voters to do with paperless touchscreen voting systems."
Electronic voting machines are commercial products developed for profit by companies. Companies have investors. In the case of one company, Election Systems & Software (called American Information Systems until name change filed in 1997), Senator Chuck Hagle (R-NE) was the former owner, Chairman and CEO and continues to have a 25% investment in the company. The system was used in his own state during 1996 and 2002 elections. When his opponent in the last election lost and asked for a recount, state legislation forbid a manual count of the ballots. Recounts were mandated to rely solely on the very machine count his opponent had found objectionable to begin with.

Recently, a group of software professionals have come out in opposition to electronic voting that cannot be verified on paper. CalVoter has been closely following the developments and includes a list of the various machines and manufacturers currently in use through out the state of California. Other states are watching California decision making on which technology to use. The result is likely to have consequences nationally.

Bev Harris at has been following electronic voting machines. Be sure to visit the site and educate yourself.

Paper Trail

Avante has produced the first voter-verifiable touch-screen voting machine, called Vote-Trakker.
After the voter makes their selections on the touch screen, they press the "Cast Ballot" button. A printout of their choices appears under a protective viewing window. The voter then can review the paper. They will see their selections for each contest. Also on the top they will see a header that contains a randomly generated number that does not tie the vote to their identity. Once the voter leaves the voting machine, a presence sensor sends a signal to the printer to retract the paper record into the voting machine. There is no intervention required by a poll worker.
Sounds great. Is great. But would you believe there is opposition?

You can read more about Vote-Trakker at their website including their rebuttal to criticism.


Congressman Rush D. Holt (D-NJ) has introduced legislation to address the concerns of the 'integrity of future elections' by introducing reform legislation, HR2239 The Voter Confidence and Increased Accessibility Act of 2003.
The measure would require all voting machines to produce an actual paper record by 2004 that voters can view to check the accuracy of their votes and that election officials can use to verify votes in the event of a computer malfunction, hacking, or other irregularity. Experts often refer to this paper record as a 'voter-verified paper trail.'
To view the text of the bill visit:
Enter HR2239 in the box after Bill Number.

Consider contacting your representative and asking them to co-sponsor HR2239.

To find your representative visit:

To write to your representative visit:


An extensive list of articles and links related to election reform has been compiled at Failure is Impossible.

Information on California's election reform has been compiled at Cal Voter.


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