Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Congress Should Mandate Effective Post-Election Audits

This afternoon, our own Larry Norden presented testimony on post-election audits before the House of Representatives Committee on House Administration, Subcommittee on Elections.

He argued that, while voter-verified audit records are a necessary component of secure election systems, they are not by themselves sufficient to address the security and reliability issues that the Brennan Center and other groups have identified. Voter-verified records will only have real security value if they are regularly used to check electronic tallies.

The Brennan Center has concluded that an effective audit scheme will do the following:
  • Use transparent and random selection processes for all auditing;

  • Allow the losing candidate to select precinct(s) or machine(s) to be audited;

  • Place an independent person or body in charge of the audits;

  • Implement effective procedures for addressing evidence of fraud or error;

  • Encourage rigorous chain of custody practices;

  • Audit a minimum percentage of precincts or machines for each election, including at least one machine or precinct for each county in the state;

  • Record and publicly release numbers of spoiled ballots, cancellations, over-votes, and under-votes;

  • Audit the entire system, not just the voting machines themselves; and

  • Increase scrutiny in close elections.

If Congress fails to act, we urge New Yorkers to support strong audit procedures on the state level to bolster the audit requirements already in place.

No comments: