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Poll shows 92% of Americans want right to see ballots counted

RAW STORY
Published: Monday August 21, 2006

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A new Zogby poll to be released on Tuesday will reveal that 92% of Americans, spanning every party and democraphic group, believe that the public has the right to view and verify the counting of votes, RAW STORY has learned.

When offered a choice between "Citizens have the right to view and obtain information about how election officials count votes" or "Citizens do not have the right to view and obtain information about how elections officials count votes," 92% of those polled agreed with the first statement. Only 6% agreed with the second, while 2% were unsure.

The issue of transparency has become particularly important due to the use of electronic voting systems, most of which employ secret, proprietary code and do not allow public inspection.

For example, after a recent primary in Cuyahoga County, Ohio, it was found that 15% of paper ballot records did not match the Diebold touch-screen electronic counts. CNN correspondent Kitty Pilgrim called that election "a debacle."

Although it is possible to install equipment that enables the checking of electronic vote counts against paper records in case of a disputed election, many locations have not purchased such equipment and even choose to keep their own security procedures a secret. This sort of "security by obscurity" is widely considered a formula for inside tampering.

Soon after Tuesday's release of the full results of the Zogby poll, the National Election Data Archive will issue a paper titled "The Election Integrity Audit," which offers a new method of hand counting samples of ballots to reveal any corruption in the electronic count.

The paper will include a computer algorithm and spreadsheet that will calculate the percentage of ballots that have to be audited in any particular election to detect possible corruption. NEDA hopes that this algorithm will be adopted as a standard for future election audits.

The press release is available at:

Utah Counts Votes

Election Archive