image © Utah Count Votes
Utah Count Votes!
Information about Utah's process for selecting voting
equipment to help you make sure that "Utah Counts Votes"
Background: The Help America Vote Act of 2002 (HAVA) requires that voting equipment permit persons with disabilities to vote in private. This means that computerized voting systems must be used if Utah is to receive HAVA funds. Computerized voting systems can also use multiple languages, count votes and print paper ballots for easy recounts by optical scan systems.
Eight reasons to set aside Utah’s current RFP for selecting
- “To err is human; to really foul things up requires a computer.”
Most of Today's Computer Voting Machines are unacceptable and error-prone:
- There are 50+ pages of reported problems w/ the new voting machines that
have caused votes to be lost and miscounted & how many were undetected?
(Reported Problems through Mar 04,
- All computerized voting machines on the market now,
use proprietary (SECRET) programming instructions. Is America going from “In God we Trust” to “In Computer Programmers We Trust”? Secret software means that elections can be rigged and the criminals who rig them can get away scot-free because programming instructions that people can read are “compiled” into machine language that no human being, not even a computer scientist, can read. And the main voting program isn't the sole location where problems can reside: there are shared libraries, kernel modules, network connections, storage device connections, hardware drivers, and others, any of which could be used to intentionally subvert the voting process. How can votes be tallied in public when the systems for casting and tallying votes are “trade secret”?
- Voting systems on the market now are very expensive and upgrading them and administering them is difficult and expensive. Utah will blow millions of dollars unnecessarily if it follows its current RFP for selecting voting systems.
- DRE-style machines provide sequential under-glass paper records that do not protect
voter privacy and are not suitable for storage or recounts.
- Legal suits in America caused by computerized voting systems have included
counties suing states, states and counties suing voting machine vendors,
individuals suing counties and states.
(Electronic Frontier Foundation www.eff.org/Activism/E-voting/
- Utah’s Current RFP for voting equipment is irretrievably flawed:
(See http://www.utahcountvotes.org/summary_response.php )
- Utah’s RFP was not written under the guidance of Utah’s computer
scientists, and its schedule does not leave enough time for security and
accuracy evaluations of the voting equipment being considered for purchase.
- Security and accuracy are only weighted 20%.
- Utah’s RFP does not set precise requirements or evaluation criteria,
therefore legal enforcement in the case of vendor failures may not be possible
- The committee is saying “Trust us.” during an essentially secret process.
- There is no requirement for any voter verifiable paper ballot to ensure that votes are correctly recorded in case of machine malfunction or tampering, and there are no standards for quality, durability, storability, use-ability or recount-ability of paper ballots.
- Existing national standards for voting machines are voluntary, out-dated
, and often not met by voting machine vendors, and the new national standards
won’t be set until June 2005. (See http://www.nased.org http://www.fec.gov/pages/vssfinal/vss.html
- The ITA (independent testing authority) process of certifying voting
equipment has been discredited. ITAs have made glowing reports of voting machines which later have been discovered to have glaring security flaws and have been de-certified by states. Voting machine vendors pay the ITAs to certify their equipment which may be a conflict of interest.
- Utah used Georgia’s RFP, as an initial template for its own RFP.
Georgia is where the scandal regarding computerized voting machine problems
originally broke and inspired me to follow this issue.
- Utah’s current RFP hastily rushes Utah into purchasing voting machines before the end of this Governor’s administration, without giving
- the new Governor’s administration a chance to have input
- time for new lower cost, more trustworthy voting systems to come to market
- meeting basic requirements recommended by 95% of computer scientists
- time for new national standards to be set
- approximately one year ahead of the national deadline for receiving HAVA funding
- Utah received only two bids from DRE-style voting machine vendors,
Diebold and ES&S, in
response to its RFP. Both the Utah State Plan on Election Reform and Utah's first
July 9th RFP for voting equipment
require DREs, thus discouraging submissions by other voting systems vendors that meet
HAVA's accessibility requirements, simply because they are not defined as DREs.
A partial list of problems with Diebold and
ES&S voting machines are available at VotersUnite.org
The question is: “What equipment should we adopt to make sure that every vote is counted, and counted the way the voter intended?”
Utah has always had good honest voting systems. Let's keep it that way.
Utah can lead America with the best voting system in the entire United
States, IF its current RFP process is halted and restarted with the advice
and help of Utah’s computer science community, and on a time schedule that allows for R&D and new vendor bid proposal submissions. Democracy demands no less.
Utahns can design and build a voting system superior to any currently available; provide economic benefit and opportunity in Utah; and show America how to implement a vastly better voting system.
UTAH Voting & Elections Systems (UVES) Concept for Proposal,
is a win-win proposition. Utah Voters win. Utah computer scientists win. The Utah economy wins. Utah taxpayers win. American democracy wins.
Utah can show America how to conduct elections systems the right way!