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December 18, 2007

by Dan Stanton (Rady Ananda contributed to this article.) Because all 5 of Ohio’s voting systems have critical flaws, Secretary of State Brunner’s recommendations are flawed by keeping them. Instead, hand-counting the ballots, among several other recommendations are detailed.

All five voting systems used in Ohio, a state whose electoral votes narrowly swung two elections toward President Bush, have critical flaws that could undermine the integrity of the 2008 general election, a report commissionedby the state’s top elections official has found, the New York Times reported on Saturday.

Hand Count Recommendations from the Private Sector

 Election officials are too close to the election systems companies to be totally objective.  I would like independent research in the area of vote counting to develop best practices.

The process of hand-counting paper ballots tallied at each precinct on election night allows for utmost public scrutiny.

Involving more people in the election process is a good thing.

It’s hard to get people to work the polls now because they are
distanced from the actual vote counting and don’t trust the machines. Actually counting the votes by hand would add excitement and suspense to the process.

Election Day should be a national holiday.

All citizens over 18 should automatically be registered to vote.

Results should be posted at the precinct until the election results are certified.

Absentee voting should be discouraged for many reasons;
—–vote selling
—–custody of ballot issues
—–may need postage, get lost, or be mishandled in the post office
—–counted on optiscan machines which run on hackable software
—–programming errors on optiscan machines leading to miscounted votes
—–minor mistakes filling out the ballot may invalidate it
—–no transparency
—–ballot changes not easily made because absentee ballots need to be printed so early

Hand-counted paper ballots are cheap;
—no maintenance costs
—no machines to buy
—needs no electricity
—needs no battery backup
—needs no programming
—needs no software upgrades
—no screen freeze
—no vote jumping
—no climate controlled storage room costs
—do not break
—no sabotage risk—fewer troubleshooters needed at the board of elections to handle election problems
—easy to move around
—transport costs are low / no special vans or trucks are needed to haul them around
—easy to lock up
—large number of voters can vote simultaneously eliminating long waits in lines
—requires more poll workers, creating more jobs for the unemployed 
—involves more people in the political process
—media can televise actual vote counting for entertainment
—private election systems companies only design and print paper ballots
—recounts require no voting machine company employee input
—no background checks needed for technicians on election day
—no printer failures
—no paper jams
—no paper printout paper deficiencies
—no printer paper needed

“Elections belong to the people,” said Abraham Lincoln.  Private, for-profit corporations have no place in public elections.