PHILADELPHIA, PA., Oct. 20 /PRNewswire/ -- CountTheBallots (CTB), a Philadelphia-based voting rights group, is calling on voters nationwide to conduct 'Citizen Audits' at their polls on Election Day. The purpose of a 'citizen audit' is to verify election results, document complaints, and demonstrate how to run a transparent election.
The group warns that election results can be easily manipulated nationwide by the handful of corporations who control the software programs that count most votes. Two companies, ES&S and Diebold, will count 80% of all votes.
Private companies have also been contracted by election officials in several states to maintain voter registration rolls. The group points to the massive purging of the voters rolls in several states, as another cause for serious concern.
"Elections in America have been computerized, privatized, and outsourced to a handful of private companies," says Lynn Landes, one of the group’s founders. "Our voting system is virtually invisible. It’s a behind-closed-doors affair, a breeding ground for election fraud. A ‘citizen audit’ is not a substitute for a fair and transparent election. But, right now, it’s the only game in town.”
Landes adds that the U.S. Justice Department has taken a hands-off approach to computerized election fraud. Similarly, the news media’s exit poll, The National Election Poll (NEP), is not a reliable check against election fraud, as its management has been accused in the past of manipulating exit poll data to match official election results.
Computer fraud isn’t the group’s only concern. In addition, 50% of voters will be voting early or by absentee ballot. The voters in Oregon do not even go to the polls.
“Early and absentee voting gives unscrupulous election officials plenty of time to tamper with the votes, regardless of whether those votes are paper ballots or electronic tallies,” says Landes. “We need to give poll watchers something to watch on Election Day. Otherwise, all bets are off as to who gets to vote and whose votes get counted,” says Landes.
CountTheBallots.org supports a return to paper ballots and hand counts at the polls on Election Day. They are opposed to voting machines, ballot scanners, central counting facilities, early voting, and unrestricted absentee voting.
In past elections,
there have been citizen groups in several states that have conducted
similar audits. CountTheBallots.org is encouraging an expansion
of that movement, asking voters across the country and from all
political parties to participate.
How do voters conduct a ‘Citizen Audit’? It’s simple, says Landes. All that is needed is a box with a slot on top, some pencils, information sheets, audit forms, and a report form. A “how to” kit and all the necessary forms can be downloaded from their website.
Lynn Landes, founder