WHY DO WE NEED OPEN, FAIR, AND AUDITABLE ELECTIONS?
WHY IS A VOTER-VERIFIED PAPER BALLOT IMPORTANT?
The right of each person to vote, and to have that vote counted accurately, is the absolute core of our Democracy. Our vote is our voice in our government and way of life. When our foretathers signed the Declaration of Independence and formed the U.S. Constitution, they recognized that by voting we as citizens give our government its power.
This right to vote is sacred, purchased and retained through the blood of many patriots over the last two hundred and thirty years. People have laid down their lives to stand up for our right to vote, both soldiers on the battlefield and ordinary citizens in places like the Pettus Bridge at Selma, Alabama.
In a time when we claim to be delivering democracy around the globe we must make certain that we uphold the most democratic values here at home. But sadly, recent elections have shown that our American right to vote may be in danger. Miscounts, lost votes, courts deciding elections rather than voters, and declining voter participation are all signs that the American electoral system is in deep trouble.
In 2002 Congress passed the Help America Vote Act. This federal legislation, while intending to improve our elections, has mandated sweeping changes in how we vote, and has basically dangled a pot of money in front of every state and county in the nation to obtain shiny new voting systems. The intention of HAVA may have been good, but private voting machine corporations are licking their chops at the windfall and pulling out all the stops in vying for the opportunity to count our votes. Some of the products being offered may have real merit, but some are just the proverbial 19th-century snake oil.
Most of the voting systems being considered for purchase with HAVA funds rely on some form of electronic or computerized counting. Computers are wonderful for many things, but experience with these new voting systems so far shows that vote counting is not really one of them:
Once a vote is lost from the electronic memory of a computer, it is gone forever -- unless that vote has been protected by a Voter Verified Paper Ballot. A VVPB is basically a paper copy of the voter's choices, which he or she has marked and approved before casting their final vote. Upon casting the vote, the paper goes into locked ballot box, where it is available for auditing or recount. In the event the audit or recount shows a discrepancy between the electronic tally and the paper, the voter-verified paper ballot must become the official record of the vote.
One simple little piece of paper for each voter will become a giant, protecting our vote.
And to assure that the true will of the American people always decides our elections, we propose that every election be audited by hand-counting the Voter-Verified papers in a small but significant percentage of precincts chosen at random. The hand-counted totals will be compared to the machine counts, to be certain that the computers and electronics are operating without error. Businesses audit their inventory and finances. Individuals audit their finances and property. The government audits many things. So does it not make sense for our country to invest this small effort into auditing our sacred votes?
There are numerous other election reforms that would make our right to vote even stronger, and VotePA and our affiliates do support them. But the most basic need boils down to this -- every American citizen who wants to vote must get to vote, and that vote must be counted accurately as he or she cast it.
PLEASE LOOK THROUGH OUR SITE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT OUR STATE-WIDE NON-PARTISAN GROUP SUPPORTING ALL VOTING RIGHTS AND ELECTION INTEGRITY IN PENNSYLVANIA. HELP US WORK FOR OPEN & FAIR ELECTIONS IN THE KEYSTONE STATE!
Learn more about WHY THIS IS IMPORTANT, from VoteTrustUSA.
Because of the Help America Vote Act, Pennsylvania rushed to make sure that every county had new a voting system by 2006. Pennsylvania's electronic voting machines have been hailed by company salespeople and officials as "safe, secure, and easy" -- BUT ARE THEY??
Citizens can make a difference. Welcome to VotePA, a state-wide non-partisan group fighting for all voting rights and election integrity in Pennsylvania.