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For Immediate Release: Thursday, November 18, 2004
Contact:  Faye Anderson, for the Election Verification Project, 718 369 6059 cell

Statement of Election Verification Project

WASHINGTON, Nov. 18 -- For eight months, the Election Verification Project, a national coalition of technologists, voting rights and legal organizations, has worked to raise public awareness of the need to reduce computerized voting risks, and ensure that votes will be recorded and counted as cast.

On November 2 more voters cast paperless ballots than ever before in a U.S. election: roughly 30 percent compared to 12 percent four years ago.  The Election Verification Project is not questioning the legitimacy of the presidential election results.  Instead, we are questioning a voting process in which 30 percent of the ballots cannot be verified and, of the remaining 70 percent, most will not be verified.

While there was no nationwide meltdown, the election was far from error-free.  Our preliminary analysis of nearly 900 reports of e-voting irregularities, gathered by the Election Incident Reporting System, indicates that electronic voting machines need much improvement.  Problems were reported with all vendors and across most of the states that use e-voting.  Electronic voting machines lost votes in North Carolina, miscounted votes in Ohio, and broke down in New Orleans, causing long lines and shut-downs at polling places.

The documented problems with touchscreen machines, vote-counting irregularities, and the fact that votes cannot be verified or recounted show us how vulnerable our democracy will be in the future if there is a disputed or unclear result.

Some of the credit for averting a meltdown belongs to members of the Election Verification Project, including Professors David Dill and Avi Rubin, who sounded the alarm about computerized voting risks.  The early warning and media scrutiny alerted election officials about the need to take additional security measures.

Credit is also due to the 25,000 volunteers of the nonpartisan Election Protection Coalition, including thousands of technologists and lawyers, who helped voters who encountered problems at the polls.

But the absence of a meltdown must not be the measure of success.  The machinery of the world’s foremost democracy must meet the same standards of transparency, auditability and public verifiability to which emerging democracies are held.

In the coming months we will push for reforms that will fulfill the promises of the Help America Vote Act of 2002.  The proposed reforms are designed to increase transparency in the voting process from registration to tabulation, including:

The Election Verification Project will remain vigilant and push for reforms that will increase voters’ confidence in the fairness and accuracy of the voting process.  We will continue to build a national consensus in support of mandatory standards for voting systems and election administration.

The Election Verification Project advances reforms that reduce computerized voting risks, and fosters public confidence in the legitimacy of elections.  The founding members of the Project are:  California Voter Foundation, Common Cause, Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility, Electronic Frontier Foundation, Electronic Privacy Information Center, Miami-Dade Election Reform Coalition, TrueVoteMD and Verified Voting Foundation.

Election 2004 E-Voting Incidents handout



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This page was first published on November 18, 2004 | Last updated on January 27, 2006
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