Do you wonder whether your vote counts? Are you losing faith in our
electoral process? Do you think our elections are as accurate as they
should be? Are you concerned that the results might be vulnerable to
fraud or machine failure?
There is something you can do NOW, even before the election starts.
Verified Voting's Election Transparency Project is enlisting members
of the public (and especially organized groups) to help find out what
really goes on in our elections. Our aim is to document everything we
can, so that we actually know what happened after election day.
There are enough close races in this election that what we witness
could affect the outcome of a race. The presence of observers will
keep election officials on their toes, and there will be fewer
problems as a result.
Most importantly, the findings from this project will keep election
reform advocates busy for several years proposing improved election
procedures and new legislation, so that future elections are much more
accurate and transparent than current ones.
The project has six questionnaires to guide you through the
observation process. You can choose one of them or all of them. You
can even do them if you are involved in other election observation
projects, such as the Election Protection Coalition or Pollworkers for
Democracy (consult Google for more information on these projects).
After observing and filling out the paper questionnaire, you can enter
a detailed report at our web site. The reports will be posted for
everyone to see (with personally identifying information removed).
Three of the questionnaires, the "Election Transparency Scorecard",
"Pre-election Testing," and "Early Voting" need to be done before the
election. In other words, NOW.
The Election Transparency Scorecard evaluates the transparency of your
elections at the state and local level. For example, these ask which
parts of election adminstration the public is allowed to see, and
whether voting machines are independently tested. Much of this
material would be helpful for other observers if we could post the
results before Nov. 7.
Pre-election testing (also called "Logic & Accuracy testing") is the
testing that localities do on voting equipment before they go to the
polls. There are newspaper stories after every election about
election disasters that could have been avoided with better testing
procedures. (A draft of this questionnaire was testing in Pinellas
County, Florida, in August. The test failed completely, with the
witness present, and the whole story was reported on CNN.)
Finally, some communities allow "Early Voting" in a few locations over
a period of weeks before an election. Sometimes, a large percentage
of the votes are early votes. But we don't know much about how early
voting is really conducted, what security measures are in place, and
so on. You can help us answer these questions.
To get started, just sign up at our website, VerifiedVoting.org