Home Editorials Editorial November 7 2023 elections are a cry for paper ballots

Editorial November 7 2023 elections are a cry for paper ballots

"the most reliable way for us to vote and count our votes is to Mark paper ballots with a pen then you can count those paper ballots with Optical scan machines but you have always the ability to recount them or audit the paper by having human beings in teams of two or more you know look at that paper

by USA Citizens Network
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Summary of this editorial:

—The Associated Press uncritically accepts election officials’ explanation that voting machine mishap in North Hampton Pa on Nov. 7, 2023, was an accident.

— Kevin Skoglund, from Citizens for Better Elections, took an opposite position: ES&S ExpressVote XL machine system is complex and, prone to error. But, the error did not change the outcome

—Retired Col. Conrad Reynolds, the spokesperson for the Arkansas Voter Integrity Initiative, INC, said that the “the most reliable way for us to vote” is with paper ballots
—He interviewed Dr Appel, an expert in electronic voting machines, who said Logic and accuracy tests are required checks on the machines before they are used on election day.
—He said that they are “useful for catching accidental misconfiguration but it’s not useful for catching malware
—optical scanner that tabulates the paper ballot computers, too, and they can be programmed to cheat
—chain of custody is ultimately one of the most important steps in a security plan whether electronic machines are used with paper ballots or paper ballots alone are used.

The Associated Press, a major main stream media outlet, runs cover for another major voting machine mishap, this time in Pennsylvania, during its November 7, 2023 local elections, by uncritically running a headline for their story: Pennsylvania county promises accurate tally after clerical error appears to flip votes for judges: “A voting machine company’s clerical error caused votes in an eastern Pennsylvania county to appear to be flipped on a ballot question that asked whether a pair of incumbent state appeals judges should be retained, officials said Tuesday.”

In contrast to this AP cover story, Kevin Skoglund, from Citizens for Better Elections, took an opposite position in his article, Election Problems in Northampton County, PA in November 2023.

“Northampton County is on the eastern edge of Pennsylvania, north of Philadelphia. It has a total population of around 312,000 and around 219,000 registered voters.

Northampton uses the ES&S …voting machine…It is an “all-in-one hybrid voting machine” because it has a ballot marking device (BMD) and a tabulator inside the same device…The ballot card printed by the EVXL has barcodes at the top and human-readable text below…When a ballot is cast, the EVXL only reads data from the barcodes. It does not read data from the human-readable text. ”

click on this image to view an “example” of this voting machine print out:

Ev Example Record
Ev Example Record
The author goes into great detail to support his analysis that the error did not change the outcome. He references a detailed timeline of events on election day

He also references the voting act that introduced this complex electronic barcode system, Act 12 of 2020 .

Nonetheless, this system is complex and, as the author has described, prone to error.

USACN agrees with retired Col. Conrad Reynolds, the spokesperson for the Arkansas Voter Integrity Initiative, INC. During his interview with Dr Appel, an expert in electronic voting machines, Col Conrad noted that the electronic voting machines were initially introduced to help those with disabilities. And, now they are used for everyone.

Col. Conrad said that the “the most reliable way for us to vote and count our votes is to Mark paper ballots with a pen then you can count those paper ballots with Optical scan machines but you have always the ability to recount them or audit the paper by having human beings in teams of two or more…look at that paper and see what’s marked on it and when we start to use touch screens to record our votes and Mark our ballots then we have to worry about whether the votes marked on our ballots by the computers are the ones that we actually indicated…”

These ballot marking machines with the touch screens are in many cities, , Col Reynolds notes, including North Hampton, Pa.

Logic and accuracy tests are required checks on the machines before they are used on election day. Dr Appel notes that they are “useful for catching accidental misconfiguration but it’s not useful for catching malware…hacks, in the voting machine that might be deliberately cheating… a determined hacker…the adversary of election Integrity can devise a computer program that behaves one way on a Monday when they’re running the logic and accuracy test and behaves a different way on a Tuesday of the actual election. The computer program knows what the date is, your phone your computer knows the date, and, it’s not [all] that hard to write a program that cheats only on Election Day. In fact, there is a court case in New Jersey, 15 years ago, where we demonstrated to the court by writing a little computer program like that…and I’m not the only one to demonstrate this. It’s just a basic fact of computer science…”

Dr Appel states that the hand marked paper ballot is the safeguard in these electronic voting systems. He notes that the optical scanner that tabulates the paper ballot, that is, the scanner, counts the mark on the voter filled out paper ballot. He says that “those Optical scanners are computers, too, and they can be programmed to cheat… we have a very important Safeguard which is all the paper ballots that the voter actually Mark with their own…pen… that the optical scanner drops that into a sealed Ballot Box. Its important to preserve a sound chain of custody of those ballot boxes…”

So, chain of custody is ultimately one of the most important steps in a security plan whether electronic machines are used with paper ballots or paper ballots alone are used.

Col Reynolds’ organization plans to raise $4M to hire Signature Collectors and Data Entry staff to collect signatures for a petition to put on the ballot an amendment to get rid of the machines and require paper ballots only be used to vote.

USACN supports this plan and calls on as many states, as is possible, to carry out the same plan.

The Arkansas voting initiative group has published a Resolution No. 2023

Resolution No. 2023 (Appendix) states that there is a “documented lack of trust in voting machines in Arkansas”.
Election Problems in Northampton County, PA in November 2023

–as a society, we have a fundamental right to accuracy, accountability, and transparency in elections;

whereas:

–Arkansas is among the lowest in the nation for voter turnout:
–this resolution is intended to increase voter participation
–hand-count audit insures that voter intent is accurately reported;
–voter intent is proven to be more accurately captured on a hand-marked ballot

Therefore”

this county shall conduct elections on paper ballots as per Arkansas law and the Arkansas Constitution – Amend. 50, § 2: Elections by ballot or voting machines authorized

–All elections by the people shall be by ballot or by voting machines which insure the secrecy of individual votes.
–all votes must be cast on hand-marked paper ballots
–full hand-scored audit of all of the races, measures, and
–referendums on all ballots must be conducted before final certification of all elections

In Pat 2 of this editorial, Dr Appel, will explain why it’s difficult to get evidence of manipulation of the vote by these machines. And, we will discuss the the 350k vote reduction in the Pa Supreme court race of Republican Judge Carluccio.

Appendix

QCPaperBallots

Transcript Dr Appel’s interview with Col Reynolds on paper ballots and the methods of vote manipulation

Dr. Appel - Princeton Prof Securing Elections With Paper Ballots
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