How Can We Ensure the Accuracy of Vote Counts?
July 4, 2005
Utah's Lt. Governor Selected Deibold E-Voting Machines which have been Widely Reported since early 2003 to be
Susceptible to Election Tampering, Do Not Meet HAVA Requirements for all Disabled Voters, and Do Not Provide a
Demonstrated Method for Independent Recounts.
by Kathy Dopp
MS Mathematics, University of Utah, President of USCountVotes' National Election Data Archive Project -
ElectionArchive.org - firstname.lastname@example.org
Lt. Governor Herbert made a decision in June 2005 to purchase Diebold DRE touch-screen voting equipment. Diebold's
voting machines are very costly and untrustworthy1 and do not fully meet HAVA requirements for disabled voters to be
able to vote privately without assistance.
The security flaws of Diebold's voting equipment, which would make it a first choice for anyone who wanted to embezzle
votes, have been widely reported since February 2003.
The Utah Voting Equipment Selection Committee was composed primarily of computer novices, and did not include on it any
expert computer scientist who is a voting & elections systems expert without a conflict of interest, nor did it include any security expert. Utah voters would have
solid reasons to doubt that our votes are counted accurately if Diebold's voting machines perform the tabulations.
Some methods which are thought to ensure election integrity, such as logic and accuracy testing of voting equipment, do
not effectively ensure accurate vote counts. On the other hand, methods commonly used in banking and retail
applications, such as routine independent randomly selected audits of duplicate paper records, could be employed to
effectively ensure accurate vote counts. It is questionable if such an independent audit system can even be built for
Diebold because Diebold's paper roll record of ballots may not be countable. Diebold has never demonstrated any system
to count its paper rolls, did not provide any bid for a system for counting its paper rolls, and has never tested a
system for counting its paper rolls in any election.
The best way to ensure the accuracy of our election results and save taxpayer monies, is to follow the recommendations
of computer scientists who are voting system experts who do not have conflicts of interest and computer scientists who
are security experts, and reject the purchase of Diebold DRE touch-screen voting machines, and instead follow the lead
of Utah county which plans to purchase voting equipment that is HAVA compliant for disabled voters and provides paper
ballots that are voter verifiable, and both hand and machine countable.
Utah County decided to purchase its own voting equipment, forgoing HAVA3 funds, in order to save taxpayer monies and
ensure accurate election results. Measures that could be taken to ensure the accuracy of vote counts tabulated using
Diebold DRE touch-screen machines are expensive, time-consuming, and technical.
To ensure accurate vote counts, despite the use of Diebold touch-screens with their widely-reported, widely known
security flaws, history of involvement in statistically implausible election results, and obvious susceptibility to
electronic errors or failures, would require building a system to perform counts and routine independent audits of
Diebold's voter verifiable paper roll record of ballots. Legal measures to require Diebold to divulge a method for
counting its paper rolls and additional purchases of equipment would be needed immediately, well prior to any election.