State Election Laws Need Reform - No Federal Election Reform Expected

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Aug 1, 2008, 11:24:45 AM8/1/08
State Election Laws Need Reform - No Federal Election Reform Expected

Sample State Election Reform Requests Are Provided Below.


We need your help now.

I just sat down to study the election reform measure (S.3212 -
available on which U.S. Senators Feinstein and
Bennett proposed, which recently became publicly available, with a
copy of the 2002 HAVA law that S.3212 refers to at my side, and I am
flabbergasted (and mouth-open amazed) to see that

the new Feinstein/Bennett HAVA reform bill S. 3212 does *not* require
ANY U.S. jurisdictions to conduct **any** post-election audits - EVER
despite its stated purpose "to provide for auditable, independent
verification of ballots,..".

Talk about false advertising, S.3212 does *not* do what its former
press release claims.

Please contact your two U.S. Senators to oppose S.3212,

Here is how the Feinstein/Bennett bill exempts *all* jurisdictions
from conducting any post-election audits EVER:

1. The EAC may provide a waiver to any jurisdiction until 2014 for
meeting the "new (7) method of independent verification" clause (7).

2. It exempts from paragraph (7) any voting systems that "uses paper
ballots that are personally marked by the voter" *and* any voting
systems that were "purchased before January 1, 2009"

3. The "Effective Date" for Section 304. "Election Audits" is

"Each State shall be required to comply with the requirements of this
[audit] section on or after the date such State is required to comply
with the requirements under sections 301(a)(7). [the sections
mentioned above which no State is required to comply with if it bought
its voting system prior to Jan. 2009 or uses voter marked paper


*Every* current jurisdiction today, having bought their voting
machines prior to January 1, 2009 or (as over 60% of the
jurisdictions) using voter marked paper ballots - is exempt from
auditing its elections under S.3212, the Feinstein/Bennett bill.

Let me repeat

*the Feinstein/Bennett bill that DOES NOT REQUIRE ANY ELECTION
AUDITING AT ALL - EVER* of any current jurisdiction unless they use
the bill's funds to purchase costly inane voting equipment that would
be difficult and time-consuming (at best) to audit after January 1,

The Feinstein/Bennett bill apparently provides funds for new high-tech
voting systems, as long as election officials are willing to do a
possibly sham audit that the bill only requires if they purchase them.

Positive federal election reform measures will probably *not* be
forthcoming from the U.S. Congress this year.

S. 3212: A Step Backward for Voting System Transparency

A Step Backward For Voting System Transparency

Please contact your two U.S. Senators to oppose S.3212,



All 50 states need election reforms in order to achieve publicly
verifiable U.S. election outcome accuracy.

I hope that the following three documents which have been reviewed and
contributed to by experts, including LWV members and election
officials, may provide U.S. election integrity advocates with a useful
approach for obtaining election law changes in their own states.

1. Significant Problems with Utah Election Laws and Procedures (2
pages - meant to help find a sponsor in the Utah legislature for the
reform bill)

2. Request for Utah Election Law Changes (7 pages - details of
statutory changes reqested except for vote count audit portion)

The above requests for changes to State election statutes are unique
to Utah. Each States' statutes and procedures must be studied first
prior to devising your own election law change requests.

The following election audit proposal is applicable to *any* State.

Please find a sponsor for this bill in your own State legislature.

3. Mandatory Vote Count Audit - A Legislative & Administrative
Proposal (22 pages - a detailed legislative request for a vote count
audit bill)

For those who have already read a prior version of the "Mandatory Vote
Count Audit Proposal", the most recent changes were suggested by Alice
Steiner, Co-President of the League of Women Voters of Utah and

* standardization of text such as replacing most instances of the
word "precincts" by "auditable vote counts", and replacing instances
of the words "election races" with "election contests"

* replacing occurrences of the word "transparent" with specific
descriptions of the meaning of "transparent" for each instance

* improving the payment plan for members of the independent State
Election Audit and Recount Committee to reflect the actual hours each
member works and increasing the upper pay limit for members

* clarifying other language

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS: Thanks to all the following:

Joycelynn Strait helped to write the first drafts of the mandatory
vote count audit proposal in January and February 2006 specific for
Utah. Ron Baiman and Frank Stenger co-authored election auditing
papers with me in 2005 and 2006. Philip Stark and Ron Rivest reviewed
the audit proposal and made some suggestions to improve its
definitions and procedures. Alice Steiner suggested some excellent
revisions. Andy Bardwell urged me to generalize the audit proposal for
use in any State and to add the formulas for the Probability
Proportional to Margin Error Bound (PPMEB) method for calculating
audit sample sizes. Utah Legal Counsel and Legislative Analyst Eric
Weeks made helpful requests for more specificity in the audit
proposal. Utah Representative Neil Hansen agreed to sponsor the audit
proposal last year in the Utah House and thus encouraged me to do
further work on it. Javed Aslam, Raluca Popa, Ron Rivest and Philip
Stark derived the overall PPMEB election auditing methods into which I
inserted the precise margin error bounds and included here. Utah's
Alan McEwan, County Clerk/Auditor of Weber County; Julio Garcia,
Election Director of Salt Lake County; and Sherrie Swensen, Salt Lake
County Clerk, reviewed the audit proposal and made very helpful
recommendations to make its procedures do-able for County Election
Officials. Anthony Stevens, Deputy Secretary of State of New
Hampshire, provided materials on efficient and effective methods for
hand counting paper ballots, some of which are included in the audit

Thanks to Utah Representative Eric Hutchings who suggested creating
the Utah election law change request document and made suggestions for
its organization. Thanks to Joycelynn Straight, a former Utahn and
League of Women Voters member for the many hours spent studying and
discussing Utah election statutes. Thanks to Alice Steiner,
Co-President of the League of Women Voters of Utah, for reviewing and
making suggestions to this proposal. Thanks to Mark Jarmen for
reviewing this document and providing

Thanks to the many coauthors and contributors to all my papers on
election topics who have contributed to my understanding of voting and
election systems and election data analysis. Thanks to voting system
experts and volunteer election advocates who have pointed out flaws
and loopholes in election auditing procedures used in some States or
who have made other suggestions.

Some of you may also be interested in viewing this short video clip of
the Utah segment in the documentary film UNCOUNTED
( ). "Why Diebold's
Disreputable Distinction is Dead On Deserved"

Due to events begun in Utah, where at my urging, former Emery County,
Utah Clerk Bruce Funk invited Black Box Voting to have computer
experts examine Utah's voting machines, the mainstream press finally
began covering (in 2006 ) the topic of voting machine hackability, and
a severe voting system security flaw was rediscovered in Diebold's TSx
machines and made public that had been discovered earlier in
Maryland's Diebold TS machines and had been covered up by Maryland's
Election Director since 2003.

Please find a sponsor for this carefully crafted scientific mandatory
vote count audit in your own State legislature (It includes provisions
for public oversight over ballot security and ballot reconciliation):

Mandatory Vote Count Audit - A Legislative & Administrative Proposal
(22 pages) [applicable to *any* State]

As Ion Sancho, Leon County Clerk, Florida recently said "It will take
years to study and reinvent our voting systems. In the meantime we
really need to press for AUDITS."

Also please let everyone know to check your voter registration status
well-prior to November via one of these sites or by calling your local
election official because the recently implemented requirement for
electronic purges of "inelligible" voters is routinely purging
thousands of legal voters from the voter registration rolls by the use
of loose, inaccurate purging algorithms.

Make sure that you are on the voter rolls:

We need funds to be able to continue.

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