History of North Carolina’s Struggle for Verified Voting and Transparent Elections
We’ve come a long way, but we remain dilligent in protecting our accomplishments, while seeking to make improvements.
Our paper ballot law, passed August 2005, faces challenges each year. Threats continue to come from well intentioned ideas for election reform, from pressure by vendors and from officials who do not like paper ballots. If you review the history , we fought long and hard to get the law passed, and we had to defend it afterwards from vendors and special interests who didn’t like the strict requirements. We had to go to court repeatedly to defend the law. We had to work county by county to get the more reliable optical scanners. Our law is at risk right now. The opponents of election integrity haven’t stopped yet.
HISTORY OF THE PUBLIC CONFIDENCE IN ELECTIONS LAW
Andy Silver, of Cary, David Allen of High Point (www.blackboxvoting.com ) and I (Jan 2004 http://groups.yahoo.com/group/ncverifiablevoting/ )and Richard Stimpson (now deceased) met to discuss efforts at persuading lawmakers to stop paperless voting back in early 2004. Then in March of 2004, it was Andy Silver who convinced his state senator, Ellie Kinnaird to draft a bill to at least put a moratorium on the state’s further purchase of paperless voting, and to set up a study committee. Unfortunately the bill became a study bill and then it died in the rules committee. That study committee would suddenly be a new idea after the Nov 04 meltdown.
Then Sen Kinnaird and Rep Insko were given the go ahead to start the Joint Select Committee on Electronic Voting. There were hearings, and there was testimony by experts, proponents and opponents over the months of Nov, Dec, and Jan. Results and a bill were reported in begginning of Feb. See the results of the JSCV . The Joint Select Committee met several times over the winter months.
Joint Select Committee Hearings Overview:
State Board of Elections member Bob Cordle, Democrat – sent this letter to the committee – opposing voter verified paper ballots. Mr. Cordle also submitted a letter from the Election Center opposing and denigrating voter verified paper ballots. Cordle served on the Joint Select Committee on Electronic Voting and represented the SBOE.
In December of 2004, computer scientist Justin Moore gave a presentation about software engineering and security [PPT, 452 KB] to a Joint Special Committee of the North Carolina State Assembly. He continuted to serve as a technical advisor to the Committee throughout its work, resulting in bills H238 and SB223 in the North Carolina General Assembly
Guilford County Election Director George Gilbert, submitted testimony to the Joint Select Committee on 12/20/2004 in opposition to Voter Verified Paper Ballots, “On Behalf of the NC Association of Directors of Election” . See Dr. Justin Moore’s rebuttal to Gilbert dated Jan. 20, 2005.
On Jan. 7, 2005, Dr. Rebecca Mercuri advised NC lawmakers to get rid of touch screens for reasons including flawed paper trails printers. See Dr. Mercuri’s full recommendations .
Also on Jan. 7, 2005 Chuck Herrin, IT certification specialist and “white hat” hacker gave this presentation to lawmakers.
On February 24, 2005 – NC State Senator Ellie Kinnaird introduced The Public Confidence in Elections Act which passed with unanimous and bi-partisan support on August 11, 2005. Representative Verla Insko introduced the House Version H 238. The bill was drafted by the members of the Joint Select Committee on Electronic Voting. It became law, SL 2005-323 on August 26, 2005.
On August 11, 2005, Election Director George Gilbert returned to Raleigh and testified to the House Election Law Committee again to oppose paper ballots. He asked lawmakers instead to allow for a “paperless verification system” that makes a secondary digital recording of the ballot image. Gilbert said lawmakers should use this instead of Voter Verified Paper Ballots.
After the law was passed, efforts were made to gut it and or kill it. Diebold tried to gut the law, some individual counties and then the NC Association of County Commissioners tried to get it delayed, repealed and or gutted.
Our legal battles – Diebold v. North Carolina Board of Elections, also McCloy v. North Carolina v. Board of Elections
Most of our opposition seemed to come from some election officials, even though many support paper ballots. The State BOE, who are good dedicated and impartial professionals – unfortunately opposed (and still seems to do oppose) paper ballots, and still today holds out for fully electronic systems (without paper) in the future.
Some sections of the law are already being cast aside. instead of making the Instant Runoff Voting Pilot fit our law, un-certified “work arounds” have been crafted for touch screens that circumvent key sections of the law to fit IRV. Since Hendersonville did not have to hold a “runoff”, this uncertified method was not used. There will be no cost savings, since our new voting machines cannot handle IRV and there are no certified systems available that can. IRV proponents say “IRV is as easy as 1-2-3” and meanwhile, gutting our election integrity law is as “easy as 1-2-3”.
“Most Hendersonville voters, 65 percent of more than 800 surveyed, said they came to the polls Nov. 6 prepared for the ranked-choice ballot, according to Cobb’s exit survey. The results match the positive opinions he heard last month from Cary voters about a ballot that asked them to rank candidates in order of preference.”
The proportion of voters who had prior knowledge of RCV was lower in 2005 (54%) than in the 2004 election for the Board of Supervisors (67%).http://www.sfgov.org/site/uploadedfiles/election/Elections_Pages/July1706.pdf