U.S. Elections: Restore Public Voting With Secret Ballot

1. The problems with electronic voting machines

  1. Electronic voting machines prevent voter verified votes. Pressing a button does not reveal what the machine actually does, even if it claims to do something. Printing a continuous "tape" of votes does not adequately verify 1 voter's choices; timestamping would eliminate a secret ballot whereas no timestamp would allow a 'clever' machine to simply redisplay a previous matching vote and print a contradictory one between voters.
  2. Electronic voting machines prevent public witness of voting. There are no witnesses to both the action taken by the voter and the resulting action taken by the machine to compare the two.
  3. Electronic voting machines prevent public witness of vote storage. There are no voters watching the status of binary digits in an electronic voting machine. Numbers can migrate from column to column in stealth.
  4. Electronic voting machines prevent public witness of vote counting. There are no witnesses to the adding of button presses nor of how the machine sorted those button presses.

2. The problems with paper ballots

  1. Paper ballots must be printed in multiple languages, including Braille. Eligible voters may be visually impaired and/or not fluent in English. Printing all available choices in all languages complicates the ballot which can lead to confusion and errors by voters.
  2. Paper ballots allow mismarking or mishandling by individual voters, leading to difficulty determining what the voter intended.
  3. Paper ballots require multiple people counting to ensure an accurate count.
  4. Paper ballots require more time than electronics to finish a count.

3. The advantages of electronic voting machines

  1. Electronic voting machines provide speedy calculations of numbers. (Note these calculations are unwitnessed and involve votes the voter did not verify, the public did not witness being cast, and the public did not witness in safe storage).
  2. Electronic voting machines provide speedy translations to multiple languages.
  3. Electronic voting machines allow voter adjustment of displays to suit visual impairment.
  4. Electronic voting machines may be reused.

4. The advantages of paper ballots

  1. Paper ballots allow a voter to verify a vote before it is cast.
  2. Paper ballots allow the public to witness a vote being cast without witnessing the choice made by the voter.
  3. Paper ballots allow the public to witness that ballots are stored without tampering.
  4. Paper ballots allow the public to witness votes being counted.

5. Proposed solution

  1. A paper ballot may be printed by electronic voting machines as a voter casts his or her votes.
  2. The voter verified paper ballot then may be placed in a publicly visible, sealed ballot box.
  3. The ballot box may remain under public watch until polls close.
  4. The ballot box may be unsealed and the ballots counted under public scrutiny.
  5. The tally produced by the electronic voting machine may be quickly released as the unofficial count.
  6. Upon completion of the public counting of the generated paper ballots, the official poll results may be released.

6. Advantages of the proposed solution

  1. The electronic voting machine can display the choices available in any language chosen by the voter, including Braille, which the election officials have determined need to be available, at any size needed by the voter.
  2. The electronic voting machine can print the resulting ballot for the voter in all languages that the machine has been programmed to use, by the election officials, so that (a) the voter can verify the printed ballot in his or her own language, and (b) no ballot can be used to determine which language the voter used, thereby protecting the secrecy of the ballot.
  3. Each voter is able to immediately verify that his or her choices were correctly printed by the electronic voting machine, before placing the ballot into a sealed but publicly displayed ballot box.
  4. The public witnesses one ballot per voter being placed into the ballot box.
  5. The public witnesses the safe storage of the official ballots while the election takes place.
  6. The tally by the electronic voting machine becomes available to the public rapidly.
  7. The public counting of the official, paper ballots completes a public witness of the voting process, confirms or denies the accuracy and precision of the electronic voting machine to enable corrective measures before its next use, and reduces or eliminates the need for recounts and controversy of the count.