Chuck See: “As long as I get to count the votes, what are you going to do about it?”

Thought for the day….

count that vote

On Thursday the New York Times ran an article describing Congressman Holt’s bill that would require that ballots be verifiable (i.e. have a hard copy that is hand countable). This is a good idea, I think.

In light of the ‘inconsistencies’ in the New Hampshire count, as well as the hoopla in Florida in 2000, I think it’s a good time to strengthen our voting system here in the US. Beyond Mr. Holt’s verifiable ballots, I have a few other suggestions:

1) How about allowing a representative from each party on the ballot to preview the balloting process and be present during the counting process? In fact perhaps we at Project White House should suggest that we be invited to the vote count on February 5.

2) I think it’s time to standardize the voting process so that it is the same in each state. That would make it easier to monitor the results. Some might say that it would also be easier to rig, which is only true if the system is not well designed.

3) Which brings me to what I feel is the most important change: that we have a multinational non-partisan group oversee the design, implementation and operation of the balloting system (probably via the United Nations). Historically this has been more important to elections held in other countries, but I believe that the US should take the lead in implementing this kind of international caretaking of the principles of democracy. We say that we are the proponents of the democratic process; we should put our voting where our mouth is, so to speak.

My favorite ballot is one like we use here in Arizona which incorporates optical mark recognition (such as Marksense or Scantron systems) because they are easy to hand count and they allow for having write-in candidates. I also believe that for any machine read ballots there should be manual verification by hand counting random blocks of ballots to assure they match the machine tally.

Of course this only scrapes the surface of election reform, which I feel is a paramount issue in the American political system, but the rest of the discussion will have to wait for another day…

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