Part 4 – RECOMMENDED STANDARDS REQUIRED FOR ELECTIONS
Part 4 – RECOMMENDED STANDARDS REQUIRED FOR ELECTIONS
ELECTION BALLOT CASTING, BALLOT HANDLING & COUNTING AT THE PRECINCTS
NOTE: The subject of this paper covers some of the more obvious issues regarding the lawful voter’s right to cast their vote and their right to have their vote counted and reported accurately. This paper does not cover the issues surrounding Voter Registration and Voter Identification before the vote or at the polls on the day of the vote. This paper also does not detail the problems and issues that occur with Early Voting and with Voting by Mail, and other types of Absentee Voting. The scope here is primarily to provide a framework for hand counted paper ballots in the open at the precincts reported from the precincts.
Guaranteeing an honest vote count (at each Precinct) with provable integrity is essential for building confidence in the election process. It is required that the process be transparent and open to public scrutiny. In addition to the right of the voter to vote without being hindered in any way, the voter’s right to know their vote was counted and reported accurately must be able to be proven by the election systems used as required according to at least 3 Supreme Court rulings*.
Any system currently used in any county of the United States that does not meet this requirement is technically illegal for not rising to these standards set by the Supreme Court rulings in regard to the Voters Rights Act.
Only practices that can guarantee the fulfillment of the voter’s Constitutional right* to:
CAST their ballot, and to
KNOW that their vote was counted and reported accurately without being diluted in any way
… can be permitted.
In beginning here, it must be emphasized that we at WatchTheVoteUSA.com adhere unwaveringly to the belief that the only avenue available to ensure 100% accuracy in counting and reporting the voters’ votes rightfully and truthfully requires the voters to cast easily marked paper ballots, to be counted by hand, in the open, in front of proper eyewitnesses and webcams, at the precincts, on the day of election, BEFORE the ballots are moved in any way from public sight.
There are other methods using technology which could and should be used to enhance the process and to provide backup methods of re-counting the original hand counts such as counting of verified images of the actual ballots [Brakey method]at the precincts and perhaps by volunteers by uploading those images onto the precinct website.
These backup methods, we believe, can never be permitted to replace the 100% secure hand counts no matter how many times the subsequent ‘computer counts’ may be shown to precisely replicate the hand counts. There is no question that computer counts can be accurate. The devil in the details is that ALL computers can be rigged and without the hand counts there is no way to catch the thief or know if there was one. So ALWAYS hand counted ballots in the open at the precincts before they leave public sight are to be the first and primary method of counting the votes.
The law of the land REQUIRES that the methods the States and Counties provide for elections exhibit proof knowable by all the voters that their vote was indeed counted and reported correctly. Computers, because of their nature and hidden code and processing of electrons, can never meet that Constitutional requirement. Hand counts do.
The below described procedures would meet the Constitutionally required standard for all Federal Elections including Primaries, Caucuses, and State/County Conventions by Parties:
NATIONAL ELECTION DAY – All voting should be required to occur on a designated National Election Voting holiday. Employers should be required by law to give people proper time off work with no penalties so they can exercise their legal right to vote. This will make it much easier for legal voters to vote without financial hardship
POLL WORKERS – Poll workers should be recruited, trained, and paid properly for their work. If volunteers are insufficient then voter rolls could be used in the same way as jury pools to secure enough poll workers to carry out the most vital of tasks for the people.
Poll workers should be brought in to be trained and divided into 2 groups:
Daytime poll workers who man the polls while voters are voting from opening to closing.
Night time poll workers who relieve the daytime workers and then are responsible for the counting and reporting of the ballots.
HAND COUNTED PAPER BALLOTS IN THE OPEN – WatchTheVoteUSA.com takes the position that all paper ballots should be hand counted in the open at the precinct before those ballots are removed from public view in any way. We believe that executed properly, open hand counting of ballots is far less expensive to execute than the current black box computer counting of ballots which is done in the blind, subject to fraud and manipulation, and technically illegal.
I. CASTING THE BALLOTS:
PAPER BALLOTS AT THE PRECINCTS – All voting must be carried out by the voter marking an easy to read and easily marked paper ballots with an indelible pen or marker. (The issues regarding location and placement of candidates or issues on the ballots; handling of tarnished or voided ballots by the voter; and languages required on the ballot, are separate issues not covered here)
INTERNET VOTING – We hold the position that there never be any type of “internet” voting because there is no paper trail and no way to absolutely guarantee that the voter’s vote is counted and reported properly. Getting a confirmation email proves nothing. Going to a website, logging in with a password and having it report back to the voter how they voted still does not guarantee their vote is included in the tallies upstream in such a process. Internet voting opens the floodgates for the most thorough scamming of all.
EARLY VOTING – Early voting should be eliminated nationwide. Early voting is subject to massive vote count fraud due to chain of custody issues and guarding requirements for days or weeks. Voting convenience is not a right and is never to be a reason to sacrifice the integrity of the process.
ABSENTEE VOTING should a rarity and be permitted only for those too sick or weak to go to the polls, emergency situations, or necessary travel. These cases must require validation by some sort of doctor order or affidavit. Any absentee ballots should be counted at the end of election day, after all polls close, the same as other ballots. It is the responsibility of the voter to ensure timely delivery of their ballot or risk having them destroyed and discounted and their votes null and void. Absentee ballots must be enclosed and mailed in generic envelops not easily targeted for delay or destruction by postal workers and addressed to a single postal address or box secured by at least 2 security guards chosen by random selection. Box would require security from the time absentee ballots are first permitted to be mailed in until and including election day. When the polls close, at least two security guards randomly chosen shall immediately place ballots in a secure bag and deliver to the precinct for hand opening and counting.
MILITARY VOTING should be handled with proper secure chain of custody of the ballots (same as detailed for absentee ballots) to be counted at the end of election day after all the polls close, the same as the other ballots.
II. IN BETWEEN CASTING THE BALLOTS AND COUNTING THE BALLOTS:
CHAIN OF CUSTODY – Even with the “Brakey” method of counting votes, which requires the making of scanned images/pictures of the actual original paper ballots, the scanning/counting of the ballots must only be done in a way that the actual ballots being scanned never leave the public sight.
BALLOTS ALWAYS VISIBLE AND IN PUBLIC VIEW:
All these processes from marking, casting, and counting the ballots must occur at the precinct where the voter votes including reporting the vote totals before ballots are moved to any other location.
The paper ballots used must be able to be observed by the voter or poll worker placing the ballot into the scanner/counter from the point of entry and be able to be observed as the same ballot exiting the scanner/counter into a clear transparent storage bin of each voting machine.
In precincts with ballot storage bins separate from scanner/counter machines, the bins/boxes must be transparent with clearly visible bottoms (disclosing clearly no way for ballot stuffing or changing ballots from under the table or shelf etc.).
Some precincts do not run ballots through the voting machines for scanning/counting until after the polls close and this process is done by the poll workers rather than by the voter. In these precincts the insertion of the ballots into these scanning/counting machines must be done in the presence of 3 eyewitnesses of different affiliations after the same eyewitnesses secure the actual ballots from above described voting storage bins that contain the actual ballots placed there by the voters during the day.
Each machine’s storage bins must be opened and signature verified as empty just before the polls open at each precinct (by at least 3 eyewitnesses of differing affiliations and by webcams). Ideally the machines should be manufactured with clear storage bins observable to the public).
Some machines have dual bins, one for scanned and counted ballots and one for unreadable or uncertain ballots. Those bins for unreadable ballots are examined and handled the same as the other bins, but are hand counted in their entirety at counting time.
The actual paper ballots must only be removed from the machine storage bins as the polls close (only under the watchful eye of at least 3 eyewitnesses of differing affiliations and webcams) and placed only into clear empty storage bins in the open AT the precinct (never to back rooms nor to storage closets nor to vehicles for transfer) BEFORE the hand counts and any further audits begin (AT THE PRECINCTS). Any movement of ballots and ballot boxes must be visible by webcam and be signature verified by the eyewitnesses.
III. COUNTING THE ACTUAL ORIGINAL BALLOTS – WatchTheVoteUSA.com takes the position that all paper ballots should be hand counted in the open at the precinct before those ballots are moved from public view in any way.
NOTE: Some election integrity experts think that true random selection of a minimum of 10% of the ballots at the precincts for hand count comparison to the same select images would be sufficient statistically by mathematical odds to prevent cheating (by substituting images in some way for fear of getting caught). This may be pretty reliable, but still not as strong as a 100% hand count of the original ballots.
A minimum of 3 eyewitnesses (judges/scrutineers) of differing affiliations must be present at each vote counting station, at each precinct, in the open, and viewable by the public and by web cam during a) ballot/image comparisons; b) actual ballot counting; c) uploading of ballot images; and d) comparisons of uploaded images to actual ballots, are being performed.
Any discovered differences in actual ballot counts or irregularities between actual ballots and corresponding images would indicate an attempt at a fraudulent count and would immediately trigger subsequent hand counts of 100% of the ballots (in the open with at least 3 eye witnesses of differing affiliations and webcams) until identical counts occur at least two times in succession, before the verified results are published at the precinct and published on the web.
After vote tallies of actual ballots are made by one team of eyewitnesses and counters, the teams are swapped and a second team carries out the same counting tasks in the same way as the first. The tallies of the first and second teams should be identical. If discrepancies occur, an immediate recount is performed until identical counts occur at least two times in succession, before the verified results are published at the precinct and published on the web.
No tallies are to be published on the precinct website until the tallies are complete, verified, and signed for by the election judges (or perhaps no sooner than 9:00pm, whichever is later. Any violation of this or revealing counts to media or media sources before such time shall be a criminal offense.
Only AFTER the hand counts are performed AT the precinct and been verified as TRUE COUNTS and been posted locally and on the Web may the ballots be transferred to an alternate location and then only with proper chain of custody procedures.
OPTIONAL CONSIDERATION – NO VOTE TALLY REPORTING UNTIL ALL POLLS CLOSE – No actual vote tallies should be reported until after the polls close. It may be important that no tallies anywhere be reported publicly until the polls close in Hawaii. This may require the need for earlier time zone poll workers to work from 7pm EST until 5am EST (3 hours after Hawaii polls close) in order to count and report their tallies publicly from the precincts. This would protect against early results influencing voter turnout and opinions in the more western regions.
OPTIONAL CONSIDERATION – Additional webcams could be installed over each vote counting ‘station’ at each precinct for live stream viewing of the actual vote counting by the eyewitnesses (judges/scrutineers) for improved scrutiny.
OPTIONAL CONSIDERATION – Procedures formulated for accepting and handling legitimate objections by public scrutinizers performing live stream counts after the ballot images have been uploaded to the precinct website.
IV. COUNTING BALLOT IMAGES – The securing of scanned images of the actual ballots (able to be done with almost all existing voting machines now in use in the country) provides the means for multiple copies/images of the actual ballots to be printed and uploaded to the internet for helpful additional and redundant hand counting/verification by the public).
The same procedures as described above for counting actual ballots must be followed for each voting machine’s stored scanned ballot images. The printing and copying of such images onto paper and memory sticks or thumb drives etc. must follow the same chain of custody requirements up to and including the upload of such images to the publicly accessible internet website for each precinct.
The eyewitness shall verify that such uploaded and printed images are in fact identical to the actual corresponding paper ballots (identified by 3 digit precinct identifier + 8 digit serial number printed sequentially on each ballot then scanned while passing through the scanner/counter). This method ensures the secrecy of the vote with no way to connect the vote with any identification of the voter and provides a way to compare each ballot with its corresponding image and guarantee the original ballot and image are identical.
It has also been suggested that the serial numbers be printed on the ballot after the ballots have been deposited by the voters but before the images are made in order to further prevent any way of tracing a ballot to a voter.
*Three Supreme Court Decisions:
1) Right to Vote; 2) Right to have vote counted
Jeffrey Liberty·- revised 07-14-2017
(adapted from various posts gathered over the years)
ALL Americans HAVE A RIGHT to a verifiable and transparent vote count in line with THREE standing Supreme Court decisions. One of those US Supreme Court decisions, Wesberry v. Sanders, 1964, stated that all other rights, even the most basic, are illusory if the right to vote is undermined. The other two relevant US Supreme Court decisions, namely, US v Mosley (1915) and Reynolds v Sims (1964) say that our right to vote consists of two parts: a) the right to cast a ballot; b) the right to KNOW that our vote has been counted accurately. Excerpts of these famous U.S. Supreme Court rulings below:
Wesberry v. Sanders 1964 OPINION OF THE COURT
Justice Black: “Not only can this right to vote not be denied outright, it cannot, consistently with Article I, be destroyed by alteration of ballots, see United States v. Classic, 313 U.S. 299, or diluted by stuffing of the ballot box, see United States v. Saylor, 322 U.S. 385. No right is more precious in a free country than that of having a voice in the election of those who make the laws under which, as good citizens, we must live. Other rights, even the most basic, are illusory if the right to vote is undermined.” .https://www.law.cornell.edu/supremecourt/text/376/1
US v Mosley 1915 Mr. Justice Holmes delivered the opinion of the court:
” It is not open to question that this statute is constitutional, and constitutionally extends some protection, at least, to the right to vote for members of Congress. Ex parte Yarbrough, 110 U.S. 651 , 28 L. ed. 274, 4 Sup. Ct. Rep. 152; Logan v. United States, 144 U.S. 263, 293 , 30 S. L. ed. 429, 439, 12 Sup. Ct. Rep. 617. We regard it as equally unquestionable that the right to have one’s vote counted is as open to protection by Congress as the right to put a ballot in a box.” http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-supreme-court/238/383.html
The court added:
“We regard it as equally unquestionable that the right to have one’s vote counted is as open to protection by Congress as the right to put a ballot in a box.” The court then traced the history of § 19 from its origin as one section of the Enforcement Act of May 31, 1870, which contained other sections more specifically aimed at election frauds, and the survival of § 19 as a statute of the United States notwithstanding the repeal of those other sections. The conclusion was that § 19 protected personal rights of a citizen including the right to cast his ballot, and held that to refuse to count and return the vote as cast was as much an infringement of that personal right as to exclude the voter from the polling place. The case affirms that the elector’s right intended to be protected is not only that to cast his ballot but that to have it honestly counted. Page 387 c. 114, 16 Stat. 140, as amended by c. 99, 16 Stat. 433.
Reynolds v. Sims, 377 U.S. 533 (1964)
[Footnote 40] As stated by MR. JUSTICE BLACK, dissenting, in Colegrove v. Green, 328 U. S. 549, 328 U. S. 569-571:
“No one would deny that the equal protection clause would . . . prohibit a law that would expressly give certain citizens a half-vote and others a full vote. . . . [T]he constitutionally guaranteed right to vote and the right to have one’s vote counted clearly imply the policy that state election systems, no matter what their form, should be designed to give approximately equal weight to each vote cast. . . . [A] state legislature cannot deny eligible voters the right to vote for Congressmen and the right to have their vote counted. It can no more destroy the effectiveness of their vote in part and no more accomplish this in the name of ‘apportionment’ than under any other name.” https://supreme.justia.com/cases/federal/us/377/533/case.html