The National Voter Registration Act of 1993 (NVRA) provides a public right to access electoral records necessary to evaluate the integrity of voter registration rolls, but U.S. citizens have no federal right to examine electoral records necessary to evaluate the integrity of vote tallies.
Does Wisconsin Count Votes Correctly?
Despite the lack of any supporting evidence for vote count accuracy, American Politics scholars, whose published opinion poll work often assumes the accuracy of election results, often claim US election results are accurate, even in close contests where small percentages of manipulation could alter the outcome.
Vote-Counting Error In Wisconsin Points to Incompetence, Not Conspiracy
By NATE SILVER
According to my cursory analysis of the Wisconsin election results data by county found here: http://www.jsonline.com/news/statepolitics/115529044.html Nate Silver’s analysis’ assumes, without any supporting evidence, the following about elections in Wisconsin counties:
1. November 2008 elections were fair and accurate
2. November 2010 elections were fair and accurate
3. February 2011 elections were fair and accurate
In other words, the election officials and technicians who count U.S. votes with trade secret software and without public oversight, are infallible and honest in both prior elections and in other Wisconsin counties
4. there tends to be higher average voter turnout per precinct in counties tending to vote Republican (more ballots cast per precinct)
5. there tends to be higher Republican vote share in counties which use trade secret software to count ballots than in counties manually counting ballots (My cursory analysis shows the Democratic candidate won in the manually-counted counties and Republican won in the machine counted counties. However, I did not have time to phone counties that I was unsure of which category they fall into based upon the current data at Verified Voting. I hope someone will compile a validated list of the vote tallies counted by each method in each county – the candidates could do this.)
I do not believe that Nate Silver has provided any evidence in support any of these claims which are logically required for him to claim the findings he makes from his analysis.
Unfortunately, publicly verifiable evidence of election outcome accuracy is unavailable in most US states today because election officials and their assignees have successfully asserted a special legal right to secretly count votes, denying the public the right to verify or participate in ballot security or tally procedures under the discredited concept of “security by obscurity”. Most U.S. counties or townships do not make their records for reconciling the number of printed ballots with the total number of voters casting ballots available publicly for all types of ballots, including mail-in and provisional ballots.
Although Wisconsin requires post-election manual audits, its audits are conducted by the same persons who initially count and process ballots; and the manual audit sample size is grossly insufficient to verify the accuracy of close contests like this one. In Wisconsin, a recount does not involve a 100% manual count of all ballots, but rather allows the same persons who conducted the initial count to re-count the ballots using the same machines again. The public is usually not able to verify that ballots are not tampered with, substituted, stuffed, and so forth because election officials adhere to the principle of keeping ballots secure from public by keeping security procedures secret and unverifiable by the public. The security-by-obscurity principle makes it easy for insiders within any system to undetectably produce errors, deliberately or by mistake.
In addition, only one state in the U.S. New Mexico, publicly reports its vote tallies broken out by ballot type. In all other U.S. states, vote padding for one candidate in one type of ballot and undercounting votes in another type of ballot for an opposing candidate are hidden by adding the two results together. As long as the amount of vote stuffing for one candidate is less than the number of undervotes for another, the evidence of both problems is hidden in the aggregated tallies.
Other countries would do well not to follow the lead of the U.S. in using trade secret electronic vote-counting devices allowing fraudulent vote manipulation to become virtually undetectable.
This election is high stakes and close enough to merit a full manual recount of ballots in all Wisconsin counties that are immediately secured by a court, regardless of which party is reported to win.
The losing candidate should ask for a detailed list of tallies from each county, broken out by ballot type and counting method and examine all precinct poll book records and absentee ballot envelopes voter signatures, counting to try to evaluate whether the number of voters voting equals the number of ballots cast, and to detect any anomalies in the poll book records. The candidate should also manually count and examine ballots forensically in order to try to detect possible ballot box stuffing, tampering, or substitution which may have occurred before, during, or after the election. Ideally, someone familiar with post-election auditing and forensic analysis of election records should assist the candidate.
Statement by Ramona Kitzinger, member of Waukesha Board of Canvassers since 2004
Monday, April 11, 2011
Waukesha County reported highly unusual 97% voter turnout in the 2004 election. The number of voters casting ballots in the current election could be verified against the number of votes in a forensic analysis:
Comments by Bev Harris are apt:
Bev Harris 9:29pm Apr 15
Kathy Nickolaus is ruled out in terms of tampering with ballot counts from Brookfield for last week’s election. The City of Brookfield posted its results on Election Night, and the belated results sent by Kathy Nickolaus are identical to those posted on Election Night. Regardless of whatever illegal, uncertified, murky little data system Nickolaus uses, she was not in a position to alter the Brookfield count. Now the Brookfield City Clerk — that’s another matter. Like all other town and city clerks in Wisc. she and insiders who work for her WERE in a position to have their way with the election. But that swings both ways. Milwaukee is notorious for election tampering and it swings Dem. So for those wanting recounts, be careful what you ask for.