Greens Demand Paper Trail for Electronic Voting Machines.
Friday, May 21, 2004
Greens play a key role in cross-partisan movements to protect the integrity of elections, with a major law suit in Maryland seeking a paper trail for the state's electronic voting system.
WASHINGTON D.C. -- As Greens lead efforts in many states to defend democracy as the November election approaches, the central committee of the Green Party of the United States issued a resolution demanding voter-verified paper ballot audit trails for every electronic voting machine used in U.S. elections.
The resolution, appended below, cites the vulnerability of voting machines to error, equipment malfunction, and tampering.
"The stakes in this election are very high," said Linda Schade, lead plaintiff in Schade v. Maryland Board of Elections. Ms. Schade, a Maryland Green, is an organizer of the Campaign for Verifiable Voting in Maryland. "People of all political persuasions are coming out of the woodwork on this issue. No one wants another Florida and, in this cross partisan atmosphere, Greens are in a unique position because we can keep the focus on the issue and off partisan divisiveness."
Ms. Schade is leading a cross-partisan group of registered Maryland voters in a lawsuit against the state Board of Elections charging that Maryland's new Diebold AccuVote-TS electronic voting machines fail to comply with state and federal law. Hundreds of voters who were critical of the Diebold machines and asked for paper ballots on Maryland's primary election day (March 2) later learned that their paper ballots were discarded without being counted. A hearing before the State Election Board was held May 19.
Greens are participating in similar coalitions in California, Georgia, Florida, New Jersey, Ohio, Texas, Washington, and Wisconsin. In California, such efforts have resulted in the passage of a law requiring a paper ballot trail for all voting machines by 2006; Secretary of State Kevin Shelley decertified Diebold's AcuVote-TSx system, which accounts for a third of the state's voting machines.
"We've been working with Democratic and Republican officeholders for this to move," said Nan Garrett, Georgia Green delegate to the national party. "15 state legislatures have passed legislation requiring paper trails for their electronic voting systems. An estimated 50 million voters in 38 states will be using the new technology in November, and we're racing to protect the integrity of elections."
"Walden O'Dell, CEO of Diebold, has promised to 'deliver Ohio' to the Bush campaign," said Illinois Green Charles Shaw. "Should we be surprised that the Bush Administration is so vociferously pushing Diebold machines?"
RESOLUTION for Voter-Verified Paper Ballot Audit Trail
WHEREAS, a pillar of Green values is grassroots democracy and the hundreds of thousands of Greens who are working to grow this fledgling party hold the right to vote as inviolate;
WHEREAS, the integrity of the vote is threatened by the new touch screen voting technology which has been shown to have numerous security vulnerabilities to human and programming error, equipment malfunction, and malicious tampering;
WHEREAS, state legislatures are updating voting equipment in response to the federal Helping America Vote Act (HAVA) of 2001 which requires upgrades in voting equipment by 2006;
WHEREAS, some states and counties are moving toward or have already installed paperless electronic voting machines in spite of research, expert opinion, the lack of national technical standards and real life election debacles showing the integrity of voting is at high risk from touch screen voting machines;
WHEREAS, some of the manufacturers of voting equipment are highly partisan raising the appearance of, if not actual conflicts of interest, e.g., Diebold Corporation has demonstrated blatant conflict of interests and ethical lapses given the 23 senior managers which have contributed to the Republican Party or the Bush campaign; the CEO of which has said he hopes to "deliver Ohio to Bush", add to this illegal installation of uncertified software, manipulative pricing, poor product performance;
WHEREAS, the use of secret proprietary software is unacceptable in a democracy, especially when that software is routinely unavailable to state election or elected officials, and under any circumstances ceding the responsibility to collect and count the vote to a private corporation is unacceptable;
WHEREAS, the disabled community has legitimate desire for full access to a secret and independent vote; and the technology exists today to build an electronic voting machine that incorporates a voter-verified paper audit trail that is accessible to vision-impaired voters;
WHEREAS, paper ballots are used in the UK, Canada, India and other sophisticated democracies;
WHEREAS, FOR COUNTIES AND STATES WHERE TOUCH SCREEN VOTING MACHINES ARE ALREADY IN PLACE, a voter-verified paper audit trail is the best protection available to guarantee that an individual's vote has been both recorded and counted correctly by an electronic voting machine (such as a touch screen) especially when coupled with random audits based on the paper trail;
WHEREAS, four states (Nevada, California, New Hampshire, and Wisconsin) have already required and guaranteed such a paper trail for their own citizens;
In jurisdictions where touch screen electronic voting machines are already in use, the Green Party of the United States resolves to support the growing national movement of citizens in calling for strict implementation, required use, and required random manual recounts of a voter-verifiable paper ballot audit trail, by which we mean a permanent paper record of each vote that can be checked for accuracy by the voter before the vote is submitted, and is difficult or impossible to alter after it has been checked.
The Green Party of the United States calls for full enfranchisement of all voters including language minorities, and those with disabilities.
The Green Party of the United States also calls for "publicly disclosed" election software that conforms to the highest public interest standards for ensuring the integrity and trustworthiness of the vote.
Campaign for Verifiable Voting in Maryland http://www.truevotemd.org
"E-Voting - Not Ready For Prime Time"
"Hack the Vote"
"Electronic Voting: What You Need To Know"