Monday, September 15, 2008

Auditing election results

Spotted in a ComputerWorld article by Grant Gross:
The groups, including Common Cause, Verified Voting and the Brennan Center for Justice, called on states to require post-election audits of electronic voting systems, including touch-screen voting machines and optical scan systems. The groups also released a set of recommendations (PDF format) for best practices in election audits...

Three auditable voting machines were patented before 1900, said Pamela Smith, president of Verified Voting. "So why are we here in 2008 promoting this concept?" she said...

"From a general standpoint post-election audits are an important aspect of sound post-election procedures that help to increase transparency and voter confidence levels while further verifying result accuracy or identifying issues that need resolution," said Michelle Shafer, vice president of communications and external affairs at Sequoia Voting Systems. "Post-election audits should not, however, be confined to electronic voting. Elections run with optical scan or paper ballots should be subject to the same post-election auditing."

Among the groups' recommendations for audit best practices: The public should be allowed to observe audits; the audits should be done by independent officials, not elections officials; and audits should use strict ballot chain-of-custody practices.

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