I have been an election judge here in Champaign County Illinois for 4 years or so. The system we use is a scanner. The voter is issued a paper ballot with an election judge’s initials on it, fills in ovals, verifies with another election judge that the ballot indeed has the first judge’s initials on it and feeds it into the scanner. The scanned ballot is routed into a locked box. The scanner produces a results tape at the end of the day with the election results. Write-ins need to be manually counted since the scanner does not have the smarts to recognize anything other than the existence of a filled in oval.
The county clerk estimates number of voters who will show up at each each precinct. That is all the ballots that get printed. They come in packages of 100. Most of the time, the ballot for each precinct is unique due to candidates and issues on the ballot. Each voter application is numbered in sequence, thus keeping track of the number of voters. If the number of voters is more than a certain number at 3 different times in the day, the judges are instructed to order more ballots. The clerk then prints group. We had a higher turnout than expected at about 4 in the afternoon and decided to order more ballots. It turned out that we didn’t need them, but all the judges had to sign give a reason for ordering the additional ballots. Each had to be accounted for.
At the end of the day the ballots are removed from the locked box (didn’t see any Social Security in there) and sealed with numbered plastic ties in the box in which the ballots came in the morning. The ballots, election results tape and scanner memory card are transported to county building by two of the election judges, one Dem & one Pub.
This system seems to be less subject to fraud than many others, although I have reason to suspect the accuracy of the filled oval recognition system.
As an immigrant from a 3rd world country I am truly amazed by how bad and flawed the voting system(s) in the most technologically advanced country in the world is.
All reports of voter fraud here in the USA reminds me of what happens with Mugabe elections in Zimbabwe, or Zuma elections in South Africa!!!!!
Surely we are better than that!!
Surely the USA can find a more secure and standardized voting system that is not so full of holes that any 3rd world hick can defraud it.
I am not a citizen yet, but when I achieve that lofty goal and head for the polls to cast my first vote as a full fledged US citizen, I really, really expect my vote to count for something and not have to walk out of the polling station wondering if this was not all just smoke and mirrors and was all a rigged farce to make me believe my vote actually meant something.
I’ve worked with document scanners. Their accuracy is extremely high.
A few loopholes I noticed:
() The ballots are live the moment they are printed. What prevents someone from stealing a box (or having a few extra printed up), filling them out, faking some initials (not that hard), and then declaring they found a box in the back of a car?
You might try a multi-step system to make the ballot go live.
When the ballot is issued to a voter, instead of initialing it, the ballot number should be entered (or scanned with a gun) into a database. This will associate a timestamp, poll-worker, and polling-place with the physical ballot. Ballots that are not added to the system in this manner never go live, and thus can’t be used if they fall into the wrong hands.
But the ballot still isn’t live.
When the voter gets the ballot from the first person, he takes it to a 2nd table, where a poll-worker affixes a “validation sticker” to the ballot (some sort of holographic sticker with a unique number and barcode). The 2nd poll-worker scans the ballot number & validation sticker number into a database. This associates a 2nd timestamp with the ballot, the two numbers, polling place, and 2nd poll-worker.
The ballot is now live.
The people that handle the raw ballots, and the people that handle the validation stickers should not be the same, and neither should ever handle the other. Their should be clear chain of custody for both the ballots and stickers.
The ballots are useless without the stickers. The stickers are useless without the ballots. And even a ballot with a sticker is useless unless both have been properly scanned into the ballot database.
I’ve become very concerned about voter fraud. There are are a lot of smart people on FR. If we put our heads together, we could not only come up with some real improvements, but push for a real change.
And I really think the first move is to stiffen the pentalties for voter fraud, just to put everyone on notice how serious it is. I’m not kidding when I say voter fraud is treason, and I think it would be reasonable to amend the definition of treason found in the Constitution to include voter fraud.
Any system depending on the honesty of judges, clerks, SOSs, and poll workers is subject to cheating, period. Democrats are constantly working to infiltrate their operatives into these precise positions. If you want to stop cheating, take very seriously who the judges, SOSs and so forth you elect or allow to participate. Frankly, any Democrat will cheat if they perceive a potential loss - it is in their DNA that the ends justifies the means.