U.S. vote fraud and some solutions
by Evan Ravitz, founder, Vote.org
Published 11/25/2000 in the Boulder Daily Camera
When I directed Boulder, Colorado's Voting by Phone ballot initiative campaign in
1993 I learned many unnerving things about existing voting procedures.
The problems revealed in Florida are just the beginning:
- The Voter News Service (formerly News Election Service) -which supplies
ALL election-eve numbers on national and Congressional races- is a private
business of the TV networks, The New York Times, the Washington Post and
the Associated Press. If you ask them how they count votes and predict
outcomes they say that's proprietary information! They have no web site or
other public profile.
- Most votes in America are counted by computer programs which are also
proprietary secrets. Not even election officials are allowed to inspect
these programs (the "source code") to verify their accuracy. Election
officials can test the programs (using "test decks") but any clever
programmer can write a program which passes tests but falsifies the
- In most jurisdictions, identification for voting is on the honor
system. Signatures, if taken, are not compared to your signature on file
in most places unless you are "challenged" by election judges or poll
watchers, a rare event. When this system started hundreds of years ago,
the election judges or poll watchers knew most everyone in their
precincts. In modern America, this is rarely true.
- Mail or absentee ballots are often delivered to old addresses, and the
USPS is not supposed to forward them. Whoever gets one could fill it out in
the rightful voter's name. This is discussed in the document
"Florida Voter Fraud Issues" from the Florida Department Of Law Enforcement.
In student and other high-turnover areas, this problem is rife.
- In states with "early" voting, there is no system to prevent people
from voting early at an elections office and then also voting at their
You can verify all these points by calling your County elections
office. These and other problems leave our voting system wide open to various
frauds. The 1992 book Votescam: The Stealing of America, gives ample
evidence of widespread voting fraud for decades. See Votescam.com.
Voting by Phone, used successfully in the National Science Foundation's
1974-5 Televote project, is a good solution to these problems, using
PIN numbers which have protected our bank accounts for decades. This
would also make voting much easier for single parents and those who work several jobs, and much
cheaper and less wasteful of paper, gasoline, etc.
Please see our paper on Security and Privacy. Now, web voting can be
integrated with phone voting to make it easy for everyone on both sides
of the "digital divide." The Arizona Democratic Party had great success with web voting last March.
Turnout increased 622%!
Even better is what else this technology can be used for. Please see our
web site at Vote.org. Vote.org is now an affiliate of Philadelphia
II, a national organization led by former US Senator Mike Gravel. Our site is
used in a Houghton-Mifflin college textbook and a Duke University course
-see the site bottom.
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