Needed: Voting Security and Election Results Credibility
One of Marian's Fundamental Four
No Leaky Buckets !
(and no SPAM from us) ---
"If you cannot trust the way your votes are counted, nothing much else in politics matters!"
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The Fundamentals for Integrity in Voting Systems
Ballots and Ballot-marking Methods - a Comprehensive list!

Recognize and fix all the leaks in our balloting and counting systems!
I believe that in order to maintain trustworthy elections and "SARA" results, we must have no leaky buckets -- that all the potential holes in the elections system must be plugged, including:--

Have Paper  |  Use the Paper  |  Stand-Alone Machines  |  Nothing Else Amiss
Essential: -- "hacopaba" --
  HAVE PAPER  a voter-verifiable paper (physical) ballot for every voter, as the legal representation of each voters' choices ("v-vpb"). In plain language, have a separate paper ballot that the voter knows is correct while still at the polling-booth or kitchen table and voting(*). My Whatcom County and Washington State gain a gold star in 2005!

 USE the PAPER - TWICE   a mandatory random full-precinct or substantial batches AUDIT by hand-count of all ballots on an adequate percentage of the ballots in a jurisdiction, as a double-check of the electronic record (critical if computerized voting is used). My Whatcom County and Washington State have scored a mixed bag. A limited hand count has been done in Whatcom, but it is not required and might be dropped. See how much that would cost - for YOU!

 STAND-ALONE MACHINES   If any machines or computers are used, no live online or modem or WiFi or IR interconnections of voting systems components, at any point in the process between the voter and the election certification - we believe that in Whatcom this criteria is met - another gold star for them.

 NOTHING ELSE AMISS   adequate attention paid to all the other elements of voting systems - people, hardware, staff training, education of the voters, watchfulness and diligence by citizens and voters of the chain-of-custody of ballots and data. Our county is doing very well on this aspect, (another gold star for them) with a citizen advisory committee, and citizen Election Observers. Voting systems must meet the SARA test of the LWV-US - Secure, Accurate, Recountable and Accessible. The bucket will not stay full if there remains even one hole that's big enough to change or lose even one vote! History shows us that known frauds have always been, and remain, a risk for election integrity!

Also of some value:
  KNOW THAT THE COUNTING RULES in the software ARE RIGHT - (if computerized voting or counting is used), a full verification of the source code written into all voting systems, at every point in the process might be nice - voter registration, polling-places, intermediate handling, voter_ID verification, vote-counting and vote-reporting, etc. Code review acts as a great deterrent to insider fraud. But -- that is a large and complex task, and even if properly completed, system security could still be subverted by someone changing the programs after installation, which can be done by one insider or one visitor who gained a brief physical access to many of the current models.

write me at

  # SARA: Secure, Accessible, Recountable and Accurate
 # hand counted paper ballots - ha-co-pa-ba

There are two great differences between the use of computers for Commerce and for Voting:
 .. Commerce:
* uses public receipts
* is subject to control
* needs a secret ballot
* subjects everything to control

Read about our local Elections Integrity group
"Whatcom Fair Voting"

Bev Harris wrote about containers that don't even leak!:
"...Using voter databases with data that is constantly "in flux" is like passing around squishy water balloons. Contents will tend to shift depending on who's holding them at any given moment...."
      source: BBV

SPAM disclaimer note:
Someone has been fraudulently sending SPAM messages illegally using email addresses of "". We object to this fraudulent misuse of the domain name, but there is little that can be done.

The changing factors - News
(click for old news)
- October 2016 -
How does the Whatcom County elections office work?

It's been a while since we posted anything new here. There is a very good reason for this -- our elections system in Whatcom County, WA, has been working very well.

The County mails out the ballots to each voter. The voters mark their ballots at their leisure, at home or wherever, then return them either by mail, or in an official dropbox. There are about a dozen drop-boxes, so doing that is also easy.

As the ballots arrive in the Auditors' Office (the agency which runs our elections), they are meticulously cared for, and stored until the counting can start.

We have posted a decription of how the management of the ballots, and the votes, is done, and upholds a high standard of integrity.

Vote Counting With Integrity.

Here is a little teaser -- they allow ordinary citizens to be in the rooms where the ballots are being processed!

- February 2010 -
Monopoly by one Machine Vendor? - still on the table

     Shall one vendor be allowed to control three-quarters of the US elections-equipment market?

The US legal system (Attorney General) must take action under anti-trust law, to stop this merger. Or, at minimum, set rules for oversight of the operations.

Article in the NY Times: here.

- September '09 -
Monopoly by one Machine Vendor?

     We wish to bring attention to a serious risk to our US society, which is right now in play.
     Public and trustworthy elections are essential to maintenance of our democracy. But counting votes in secret, in ways that are difficult or impossible to review and verify by the public, does not lead to that. And having our elections system essentially operated by a single business, is intolerable.
     Right now, announced just a few days ago, there is an attempt by one vendor of automated elections equipment, ES&S, to buy up their next-biggest competitor, Diebold's Premier Election Solutions. If that happens, three-fourths of the jurisdictions in the US would have their elections operated by a single private business!
     The citizen watchdog organization Black Box Voting: ".... is writing to express our objection to, and to request your investigation of, the proposed acquisition of Diebold's Premier Election Solutions by Election Systems & Software, Inc. (ES&S)...."
     See:       (webpage)      (document)

     We ask that US voters everywhere join in making this concern public, and assisting in whatever way possible the prohibition of the merger of these two voting-machine giants into a single entity, which would have unprecedented and unacceptable power.
     "....This acquisition, in addition to overconcentrating the industry, will put a single company in a position to shut down federal elections at will. Thus, this overconcentration also creates a potential national security problem. ...."
     Thank you for your concern with me on this serious issue. - We judge that the seriousness overrides the usual guidelines due to it's effect on the fundamentals of our democracy.

     For years, we have believed that:-----
"If you cannot trust the way your votes are counted, nothing much else in politics matters!"
- Marian Beddill, 2003

     Shall one vendor be allowed to control three-quarters of the US elections-equipment market?

- July '09 -
Ballot Secrecy = Democracy

Lawsuit to protect the secrecy of the ballot! White-vs-Reed was in the WA State Supreme Court.
News Story - Politics Blog

The lawsuit claims that the present system, sold by HART and called by them the "Ballot-Tracker" (Google-it) puts a code on each ballot which identifies the voter who cast it. With that, the secrecy of the ballot is lost. If the identity of all those who voted one way is known to the insiders, democracy is at serious risk of being lost.

- May & June '09 -
New Bill by US Rep. Rush Holt

(Update June 24th, 2009) Holt's newest new bill still fails.
The bill is currently known as "The Voter Confidence and Increased Accessibility Act of 2009 (HR 2894)
Analysis of HR 2894 by
Bev Harris of BBV;
Conclusion: Do Not Pass

With citations from and by: ; ;

(May 2009) Holt's new bill still needs meticulous review, but at first glance it has enough merit to justify doing that careful review.

- May '09 -
More info on stopping Internet voting

The website has a page dedicated to news updates on activities about Internet voting - with the purpose of avoiding it because of the serious problems such systems would have.

- May '09 -
From Brazil - Election Fraud and Technology

A new article about election fraud, by a Brazilian leader in elections integrity. The officials are moving to install fingerprint voter-ID technology on the DRE's to reduce one form of fraud, while other ways are ignored.

by Amilcar Brunazo Filho

Older News Clips
click here by Marian Beddill, an independent citizen activist in Whatcom County, WA - c: [an error occurred while processing this directive] last edited:  2009-06-24