WHY ELECTRONIC BALLOTS CANNOT BE SAFEGUARDED

From the original report "Election Reform in a High-Tech World: Safeguarding the Ballot" by Voters Unite


Everyone in a democracy understands the importance of handling ballots properly. Procedures for handling and securing paper ballots have been developed over centuries. Electronic voting machines use high-tech “electronic ballots,” which are nothing more than electrical charges inside a computer.

There are no procedures for properly handling and securing electronic ballots. The use of electronic ballots has been compromising our elections with lost votes and unsolvable controversies and must be prohibited by federal law.

Because of the nature of computer data, electronic ballots can never be properly safeguarded like paper ballots can.

The following table lists the safeguards in place for protecting votes on paper ballots and explains why each one is impossible to implement for electronic ballots.

 

EVERY ELIGIBLE VOTER RECEIVES THE APPROPRIATE BALLOT. 

With e-voting: Software controls the ballot choices presented to each voter. Software flaws can display one or more ballots incorrectly, so election directors cannot even ensure that every eligible voter receives the right ballot. 

THE VOTER CAN MAKE THE SELECTIONS THEY WANT. 

With e-voting: Many voters, especially the elderly and those without computer experience, are confused or intimidated by computer voting and are unable to even select their intended candidates on the screen. This problem extends to all voters on malfunctioning machines, such as those that flip votes on the screen or fail to display all the races. 

THE VOTER CAN REVIEW THE BALLOT AND CORRECT ERRORS. 

With e-voting: Voters cannot review electronic ballots, because no one can read the internal data inside a computer. So, if a voter’s ballot is incorrect in the internal data, the voter does not have a chance to correct it. Reviewing a screen representation or a paper printout does not suffice, since the voter cannot review the internal ballot that will be counted. 

THE BALLOT IS PROTECTED FROM TAMPERING. 

With e-voting: Computer data is volatile and cannot be protected from tampering or data corruption. Electronic ballots can be altered by proximity to a magnet, power fluctuations or outages, viruses, Trojan Horses, programming “bugs,” commands from a remote computer or a keyboard, and during transmission between devices. In each case, it is impossible to detect that ballots have been altered. 

THE VOTERS’ SELECTIONS ARE CORRECTLY TALLIED. 

With e-voting: Election directors cannot observe how vote data is processed inside a computer, so they cannot ensure that the electronic ballots have been tallied correctly. Paper ballots allow results to be meaningfully audited. Electronic ballots do not. 


CONCLUSION: Electronic ballots cannot be safeguarded and must be prohibited.