DEMOCRACY IN OUR HANDS
This page is dedicated to the women who fought, and continue to fight,
for the right to vote and have their vote counted.
"Failure is Impossible."
-- Susan B. Anthony
HAND COUNTING LINKS
** NEW BOOK by SHEILA PARKS! **
Praise for While We Still Have Time:
"Sheila Parks is one of our great activists: dedicated, dogged, and determined to protect our democracy at all costs. Her writings are essential to all of us."
-- Harvey Wasserman, Co-author of Will the GOP Steal America's 2012 Election
"Sheila is one of our most sensitive spirits, a canary in the mine. Sheila is singing, and it is mandatory that we listen to her song. An important and timely book."
--Sue Trace, Wisconsin Citizens for Election Protection
The Elements of a Hand-Count
by Sheila Parks, Ed.D., Founder Center for Hand-Counted Paper Ballots
The following are some necessary elements of secure hand-counted paper ballots (HCPB) elections.
* Hand-counting is done for all races and initiatives, not only federal.
* The hand-counting process will be easily understood by a fifth grade student.
* No precinct is larger than 1000 registered voters.
* Hand-counting is done at each precinct, immediately after the polls close.
* Poll books of voters checking in and poll books of voters checking out must exactly match.
* Get rid of all e-poll books.
* The number of ballots counted must exactly match the number of ballots distributed.
* The number of ballots printed must match the number of ballots distributed, voted, and not voted.
* No absentee ballots will be allowed, except for people in dire need and these ballots must be accounted for,
managed, and counted in a procedure that is yet to be written.
* Hand-counting is done by teams of opposing parties on the ballot, chosen by the parties themselves.
* Other smaller parties can also be on hand-counting teams, in addition to those opposing parties on the ballots – e.g. Greens.
* Hand-counting is done by new people coming in to count, not those who have been working at the polls all day.
* Hand-counters are paid a very good hourly rate. This not only pays for one of the most important jobs in a democracy, but also keeps the money in the community and is far less expensive than buying, maintaining, upgrading and storing electronic voting machines.
* Hand-counting is done in full view of the public.
* Hand-counting is done twice and the results must match.
* Hand-counting is videotaped by any member of the public who want to do so, while it is being done and also by official videographers, one from each opposing parties on the ballot.
* Hand-counting results are posted at the precinct, in the windows, after the counting so that all can see easily after polls close.
* No electronic voting machines, computers, or modems of any kind are allowed in any part of the hand-count.
* ABOUT THE VOTE PAD: The Vote-PAD provides a means for people with disabilities to mark a ballot without requiring the use of electronic voting machines. It is essential to the enfranchisement of people with disabilities, that they do not use electronic ballot marking devices (such as the AutoMARK) which are frequently marketed to assist people with disabilities. The AutoMark can steal votes just like any other electronic voting machine. In personal correspondence with Ellen Theisen, on May 1 and 2, 2011, Theisen said, “Vote-PAD is no longer available, except in the 22 WI municipalities that purchased it and are currently using it….It provides the same paper ballot for people with disabilities as the ballot for others, and then all [ballots] are hand-counted together.” See Vote-PAD rocks the disabled vote.”
* The hand-count, which has been done twice, will be the official count of the election from each precinct.
This section on chain of custody and security of the ballots and ballot boxes is a work in progress.
* Ballot and Ballot Box Transportation & Ballot Storage (last two sections) by Doug Jones gives many details of how to secure the ballots and their boxes.
* See more details of security of ballots and their boxes by Sheila Parks. Scroll down to third paragraph from the end
* Ballot boxes will be of clear plastic with a lock on each of the four corners. These boxes will be kept in full view of the election officials and the public at all times, from before the official opening time of the polls until the official election results are posted in the windows of each precinct.
* The locks on the ballot boxes will have two keys only, that is, one key will open two of the locks and another key will open the other two locks.
* There will be only one key for each of the two keys above. There will be no copies of keys.
* A Republican election official will hold one key and a Democrat election official will hold the other key.
* The ballot boxes will not be opened until all votes have been cast and the polls are closed.
* The ballot boxes will be opened in full view of the public.
* After the votes are hand-counted, the ballots will be placed in steel containers with seals on them.
* A secure chain of custody for the ballots and ballot boxes must be written from the precinct level to where they will be stored.
Furthermore, there are several problems with our voting process; not only that our votes are not counted as cast because of the fraud and error associated with all electronic voting machines, but also that even if these problems were all fixed, the electronic voting machines would continue to rig our elections. And even if we had secure hand-counted paper ballots (HCPB) elections, the problems listed below would still exist. Our voting system is a hydra-headed weapon of mass destruction:
* Suppression of the votes of students, low income people, African Americans, Latinas, elders.
* A whiteout of the news from any candidates the corporate media does not want to be elected.
* A whiteout of the news from the corporate media of any of the fraud and rigging that voting rights activists have been pointing out and writing about at least since Florida 2000 presidential race.
* Corrupt election officials who run our elections and have strong past and present ties to the right wing of the Republican Party.
* Corrupt and/or incompetent voting election officials from both Democratic and Republican parties, and most likely all the other parties too.
* Endless corporate money into coffers of candidates.
* Requiring of voter ID photos, which are issued only by the state, e.g., Department of Motor Vehicles, in order to vote.
* Absentee ballots, with both parties increasingly calling for more.
* Mail-in voting
* The election of two senators from each state means, e.g., that the voters in North Dakota and Vermont have an influence that is hugely disproportionate to voters in California.