New York, NY — On November 2nd, troubling reports of voting machine errors flowed into election assistance call centers across the country by the thousands. This pattern of system failure underscores the magnitude of ongoing problems with recording and counting votes — and election officials' lack of transparency in tabulating final results — as a threat that undermines Americans' faith that their votes will be fairly counted.
"Serious questions are being raised about the accuracy of the vote counts reported in a number of states," according to Miles Rapoport, President of Demos and former Connecticut Secretary of State. "Election officials must adopt open and public processes for verifying voting machine tallies and auditing vote results."
Many of the problems have surfaced in recent news reports, including:
* An electronic voting machine in a suburban Columbus, Ohio, precinct with 800 registered voters recorded 3,893 votes for President Bush.
* A software "glitch" in Broward County, Florida, caused machines to begin counting backward after 32,000 votes were recorded.
* More than 4,500 votes in Carteret County, North Carolina, were lost after a computer used to electronically store ballots exceeded its data capacity.
* Officials in Warren County, Ohio, "locked down" an administration building to prevent observers from watching the vote count.
"Any particularly odd vote count should trigger a thorough public audit of ballots and voting machines," Rapoport said. "The only appropriate response to dark rumors of election fraud is to make the process transparent, so that partisanship and special interests do not have oversight of our democracy's most precious institution. America's confidence in its electoral system is on the line."
For information about voters' rights and challenges to the integrity of our elections in 2004, visit the Demos homepage at www.demos-usa.org.
Demos: A Network for Ideas & Action, is a nonprofit, non-partisan public policy organization based in New York.