Thursday, June 09, 2005
My Public Comment for Voting Systems and Procedures Panel
Dear Mr. McDannold,
I live in the City of Eureka, in the County of Humboldt and I will be traveling to Sacramento for the VSPP hearing on election machines next week. If it is still possible to do so, I would like to request the opportunity to publicly address the panel. In case this is not possible, I would also like to submit this written statement for the record.
When an election is held, the outcome must be conclusive. This should seem self-evident. A finite number of voters cast ballots to record their preferences for representation. These records, once created, do not change in number or disposition. To tally them is to arrive at a conclusive outcome. Yet many recent elections have not produced unanimous agreement about the results because unverifiable votes, privatized source code, and secret vote counting have eliminated any remaining reason voters have for trusting the system. In short, there is no basis for confidence in the results reported from U.S. elections.
I hope that it would be easy for all VSPP members to agree that a sound and reliable voting system must provide conclusive outcomes and create a basis for voter confidence. If I have any bearing on this occasion I want it to be these obvious, common sense guidelines that should serve as litmus tests for even deciding to put a voting system up for consideration of certification.
Clearly, Diebold and ES&S don't belong. I respectfully request that you deny their certification, freeze all spending on the purchase of privately owned election machines, and devote more resources to helping Open Voting Consortium develop their open source electronic voting solution featuring a voter verified paper ballot and ultimately three cross-referencing confirmations of every vote.
Thank you for taking my views into consideration. I hope we'll have a chance to meet in person next Thursday.
In Respect and Peace,