The integrity of an election is equally, if not more, important than the outcome. If voters have no confidence in how their vote was counted, do the results matter? Do you know how your vote will be counted this November?
"The timing is now for fixing the situation"Kammi Foote
Kammi Foote, the elected Clerk-Recorder for Inyo County, says time is running out to fix California’s aging voting infrastructure.
“Most of the registrars in California are now working with technology that was designed back in 2000” said Foote. “Think 8-track tapes.”
California in particular uses a mixture of proprietary software run on the hardware provided by four different companies. These include the AccuVote TSX created by Premier (aka Diebold), the AutoMARK from Election Systems and Software, the Optech Insight from Sequoia (aka Dominion) and the eSlate manufactured by Hart Intercivic.
In August 2013, California’s Auditor discovered millions in wasted state funds that went toward unusable voting technology. Additionally, registrars now need to accommodate the state’s new nonpartisan election system which was passed by a majority of voters in 2010 under Proposition 14.
A task Foote says registrars can handle, but need to implement a long term solution:
“[Prop 14] sort of changed the way our systems report voting results. Our voting systems weren’t designed to report [the top two vote getters]” explained Foote. “But because the certification process is so onerous to have any change made to any already certified voting systems… it has created this system where we haven’t had any new voting technology in California.”
California’s Legislature did pass Senate Bill 360 last year which addresses some of Foote’s concerns. Authored by State Senator Alex Padilla (D-Pacioma), it cut out the federal requirements for certifying voting systems, which now paves the way for new open source voting systems to be vetted by the state and implemented.
Here’s where a new approach to voting systems comes in. Brent Turner, the secretary for California Association of Voting Officials, says Open Voting, or open-source voting, can bring voting systems into the 21st century while improving their transparency and reliability.
“Open source voting is a designed system that creates transparency within an election system, relating to the software code” said Turner. “And it allows for a higher degree of security within the system as well as creates an environment for less expensive systems as you now eliminate the literal cost of the software code.”
Turner has seen the effects of faulty voting software first hand. In 2012, Newt Gingrich was incorrectly declared the winner of the Republican primary election due to a coding glitch. Romney was the actual winner.
Critics of open-source software are skeptical of the security aspect, which is often confused with online voting. An open-source system would not be open for editing; rather, the processes that will determine how votes are tabulated could be cross-examined by many different parties before being ‘locked-down’ well before an election takes place.
For Turner, leaving oversight up to one for profit voting technology company isn’t enough:
“In a closed system you are reliant upon the oversight of a limited amount of people and you have to trust that their conclusions and motivations are appropriate. But with an open-source system it takes the trust factor out of the equation.”
Foote and Turner are in agreement that relying on a proprietary system to ensure accurate, reliable, and transparent elections won’t be the future of elections. Rather, Open Voting, or open-source systems, are the 21st century solution to the age-old democratic process.
“If you had an open source vote tabulation software then you would have transparency in the system,” Foote said.
Photo: Stored voting machines go unused in Raleigh / Raleigh Public Record
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Counted first because they are not always counted and they are the ones that keep this country free!
Yes WE need more transparency & accountability Paper ballots NO. Why go backwards? Many of our current issues is that the forefathers laid out the ability to move forward & modify fitting the times. We allow fear of unknown hold us back. I see no reason why an on-line voting process could not be designed for not only the Military but anyone who can not or chooses not to vote at the polls. We have a lot of professions that travel or work out of their resident areas - thus the mail process. And in spite of common belief -electronic is far more able to catch duplicate or fraudulent votes. I personally would like to be able to pull up the candidates resume too. I do think the Exit Polling should be banned! I turn off all such news until after I vote. It makes a lot of people believe that voting is a waste of time. I refuse to answer when asked
Like California has ever been a Guiding Light ??
Yes-more transparency and accountability.
I don't see why they need to be counted first. It would make voting even more difficult, I would think, to try and predict how long before election day to have polling at various posts/theaters of operation around the world.
Paper ballots and voter ID no absentee ballots and no ballots counted till after the military ones are. Only one day voting. Need more prescients so what, still only one day. Military have ballots on bases world wide and all delivered to appropriate state venues the day of voting. And their ballots must be in their hands in time for them to be returned and counted FIrst! !! No excuses!!!
we still have paper ballots sorta.. they count them at the court house,, but hey whose to say some don't get hid or destroyed... it's sad but voting will never be the same.. if ya can't win the honest way don't run in the first place...
Only 16% of the Military votes were counted in the last election I don't believe we'll ever see fair elections again. Obama sent millions of taxpayers money to Africa so they could get IDs to vote and have fair elections! That luxury Americans will not see.
Go back to paper ballots and Manuel count. Slower but with good security more accurate. No more exit polls to influence late voters
It's not fair to make Manuel count all those votes on his own though. Plus how do we even know we can trust him?
More voter fraud
the system is not working, change is needed
It's rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. True electoral reform means changing the system to keep the big money extremists from buying votes.
Lol, sure. Get past these mule headed republicans here in MO. They like staying in power.
And All of Them Are Rigged!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
If California wants it, it is screwed up.
Interesting. I think if Estonia can do it, there should be no reason we shouldn't. The only thing we'd need to worry about is "hanging bytes." :-)
@bobconneri believe the Philippines has some experience with it as well.
Anything that brings voting into the 21st century should be welcomed and encouraged.
Last quote was..---... " with open source systems it takes the trust factor OUT of the equation.. '
@Brent Turner thanks brent, apologies for the typo.
It sounds like something more states should consider adopting.