VULNERABLE VOTING SYSTEMS
America's electronic voting systems are aging, error-prone and easily rigged by insiders, partisans and extremists.
The right to vote in our republic is meaningless unless our votes are counted accurately and transparently. Yet American voting systems rate among the worst in the world for upholding the basic principles of democratic elections.
The 2012 Harper's Magazine exposé "How to Rig an Election", written by NEDC co-founders, discloses the heart of the crisis: the outsourcing of our public voting systems to a handful of unaccountable private corporations.
Decades of independent investigations into these companies have exposed flagrant partisan conflicts of interests, criminal activity, and connections to extremists and corrupt political operatives.
The 2002 Federal Help America Vote Act (HAVA) funneled $3.9 billion to states to buy electronic voting systems from these highly questionable companies.
Incredibly, their electronic machines count votes using "proprietary" software that is legally off limits to public inspection, even by elections officials.
These secretly programmed voting systems have been repeatedly proven unsafe, wide open to insider rigging and outsider manipulation, and prone to basic errors and malfunctions.
- America's nearly 9000 voting jurisdictions in 50 states are a patchwork of local laws governing ballot process and machine auditing, with no uniform standards or basic principles for election integrity and transparency.
- Seventeen states use Touchscreen voting machines that provide no paper record at all.
- Nearly all American ballots, including those cast in popular vote-by-mail systems, are now processed by these "black box" systems.
- Where paper ballots are used with Optical Scanners, most states do not conduct meaningful audits, and many fail to uphold even the most basic common-sense standards such as randomness (precincts or races are actually chosen weeks in advance) and public oversight.
- Some so-called audits consist of nothing more than having the same riggable voting machines spit out internal results again. Bad auditing practices can easily be nothing more than a cover for fraud.
- Electronic voter rolls are spreading nationwide, making voting lists vulnerable to hacking and manipulation.
- Looming on the horizon is Internet voting, offering no transparency or security, and the greatest opportunity for fraud, voter intimidation, and foreign hacking of our elections.
Currently the burden of proof of stolen elections rests on the voter or candidate whose election was stolen.
In the cases of suspicious results or rule violations, elections administrators, political parties, Secretaries of State, and Justice Department officials, often decline to take action.
Elections officials typically lack advanced technological expertise. Many are still unaware of how vulnerable these systems are to fraud. While most election officials are hard working, and care about protecting elections, others are not honest players. Some have been caught and a few convicted of rigging elections. Electronic voting systems open numerous doors for corrupt insiders to manipulate our elections.
After decades of monitoring American elections, many integrity advocates support nothing less than a full and secure hand-count of paper ballots done at the precinct. However to date, there has been no political will to carry out a fully verified election, though it is done in many other countries.
FACTS ON AMERICAN E-VOTING SYSTEMS
MASSIVE FAILURE of E-Voting
In every national election in the past decade, computerized voting systems have failed, machines did not start or failed in the middle of voting, memory cards could not be read, votes were incorrectly tallied or lost, and more.
LEARN MORE: Electronic Voting Machines Facts
LACK OF TRANSPARENCY & VERIFICATION
No pre-election tests can detect or prevent insider fraud through rigging the vote counting software. Meanwhile, 17 states use electronic voting systems with no paper ballot, making an audit of the voting results impossible. Current paper ballot auditing systems are insufficient and must be improved.
LEARN MORE: Meaningful Election Audits
EXPERTS PROVE RIGGING DANGER
A tremendous body of information has been compiled over decades by independent researchers, top computer security experts, and government agencies, on the dangers electronic voting machines pose to democracy. Whistleblowers have come forward to confirm that these systems are being programmed to rig elections.
An Opportunity for Change
Failing systems, New Options
In 2002 the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) of 2002 allocated $3.9 billion for states to "upgrade" their voting systems with poorly made, easily rigged electronic machines that have now begun to break down nationwide.
Failing machines are becoming a crisis for cash-poor communities who can't replace their aging systems.
This brings an opportunity to revisit the design and cost of voting systems, choosing processes that uphold the requirements of democratic elections: transparency, accuracy, and public oversight.
E-VOTING BANS GROW GLOBALLY
Private, non-transparent e-voting systems are being banned in developed countries around the world, including Germany, Ireland and the Netherlands.
- 2012: Ireland sends their e-voting machines to a recycling center.
- 2009: German High Court issues landmark decision against nontransparent electronic voting, supporting the “public nature” of elections.
- 2008: Netherlands bans e-voting, preferring paper and pencil.