Your Candidate’s Vote is in Jeopardy
by Larry Quick, the Illinois Ballot Integrity Project, www.ballot-integrity.org
How secure are Illinois elections? How much confidence should Illinois voters have in the accuracy and integrity of the election results reported by Illinois election authorities?
Have we as voters come to accept faith-based election results subject to little if any independent external review?
To be sure, Illinois election systems are complex. They are information systems comprised of many interdependent components. They are with few exceptions insecure guardians of Illinois democracy. Audits of Illinois election systems by independent CPAs would reveal to all Illinois citizens the extreme vulnerability of Illinois election systems to hacking, fraud and unintentional errors.
The introduction of computer-voting systems has created those types of information security weaknesses that are usually deemed unacceptable, by financial institutions and U.S. national security organizations. To get a sense of the depth and extent of our election security problem, the Illinois Ballot Integrity Project www.ballot-integrity.org/ recommends the following videos:
- Princeton University Computer Hack (9 minutes)
- Republican IT Cyber Security Expert Stephen Spoonamore: Election Theft with Computerized Voting Systems (27 minutes)
- Stealing America Vote by Vote narrated by Peter Coyote (90 minutes)
Viewing these videos will change your life.
Viewing these videos will reveal why since 2000, extremist right-wing candidates have mysteriously been winning key federal and state elections, that radically contradict scientifically conducted exit polls as well as scientifically conducted pre-election polls.
Prior to the introduction of computerized voting equipment in 1988, scientifically conducted exit polls consistently predicted election results with a high degree of accuracy.
The introduction of computerized election results has, in many key federal and state elections, created disturbing discrepancies between “official” election results generated by computerized election systems, and both scientific pre-election polls and scientific exit polls.
To learn more, please consult Jonathan Simon’s informative book “Code Red” and Nate Silver’s 538 pre-election polls.
No computerized voting system has ever passed minimum U.S. Government Information Technology Security Standards.
After the 2002 U.S. General Election, many concerned voters noticed highly irregular election results following the widespread introduction of computerized voting machines throughout the nation. Most conspicuous were election outcomes in key U.S. senate and gubernatorial races.
Pre-election and post-election tracking polls no longer agreed with “official election results” generated by newly installed computerized election systems.
Many of these concerned voters became election integrity activists and began close examination of the U.S. Election System. What they discovered in state after state and county after county were the following:
- A critical lack of external, independent review, throughout the election system
- Highly insecure storage of ballots, computer memory cards, election machines and key election documents
- Serious chain-of- custody weaknesses involving ballots, voting machines, computer memory cards and other key election documents
- Election recount systems that were expensive, slow, insecure and sometimes inaccurate
- Election systems controlled by partisan elected officials
- A dismissive media failing to investigate allegations of election fraud and election system security weaknesses
- Apathetic political parties failing to point out election system irregularities and security weaknesses to the media and the public
- Computerized election systems produced, programmed and maintained by corporations with strong political ties to one political party
A security chain is only as strong as its weakest link. An election information system, with one or more security weaknesses, in the chain that records, tabulates and reports election results, jeopardizes the integrity of elections and the democratic process.
Since potential security weaknesses are so numerous in complex Illinois election systems, it is difficult for concerned voters, and elected officials, to know where to begin. What can Illinois voters do to ensure the accuracy and integrity of our elections? Is a solution to be found? Yes, there is a powerful single solution – “The Illinois Election Integrity Act” (HB 712 / SB 834).
House Bill 712 introduced by State Representative Linda Chapa LaVia (D 83) provides a single solution to our complex election integrity problem. Senate Bill 834, an identical companion bill, has been introduced by State Senator Cristina Castro (D 22). These two bills are referred to as “The Illinois Election Integrity Act”.
HB 712 / SB 834 introduce critically needed external, independent review throughout the entire election system.
HB 712 / SB 834 do this through three mandatory election system audits:
- Election Day audit consisting of a count of a random sample of 10% of the paper ballots cast in each precinct, to be conducted in the polling place, immediately upon close of the polls.
- A parallel central tabulation audit of all votes cast as recorded on precinct poll tapes, by independent public accountants, within 48 hours of the close of the polls.
- Pre-election operational audit of elections systems, that identifies and reports election system security weaknesses, together the steps necessary to remediate security weaknesses discovered.
The introduction of these three audits will provide extremely high assurance that votes and ballots are being accurately recorded, accurately tabulated and accurately reported.
No U.S. election system provides anything close to the comprehensive level of external, independent, review mandated by HB 712 / SB 834
How much would it cost the State of Illinois to implement HB 712 / SB 834 for a bi-annual general election?
The estimated cost of implementing HB 712 for a two-year general election cycle is as follows:
Parallel tabulation audit – $75 / precinct X 13,000 precincts………………………..$975,000
Election Supplies – $25 / precinct X 13,000 precincts……………………………………$325,000
Election judge training – $20 / precinct X 13,000 precincts…………………………..$260.000
Additional administrative cost……………………………………………………………….$300,000
Total cost per election cycle..……………………………………………………………………..$1,860,000
For a state population of 12,000,000, the annual cost is approximately $.01 per citizen per year.
HB 712 / SB 834 allows for all of these costs to be covered by voluntary contributions, made to a special election integrity fund that will be administered by the Illinois Board of Elections.
What can you do?
Contact your Illinois State Representative and Illinois State Senator.
Let them know that for Illinois to have a true democracy, we must have secure elections with accurate results.
Ask them to become a co-sponsors and then vote for HB 712 (state representatives) and SB 834 (state senators).
For election results that we can trust, “The Illinois Election Integrity Act” must become law.
*The Illinois Ballot Integrity Project is an Illinois non-profit organization whose mission is to safeguard the integrity of Illinois elections. IBIP was formed in 2003 and since that time has advocated for secure Illinois election systems. . Please visit www.ballot-integrity.org/ for more information on IBIP and the election integrity resources that it provides. IBIP can be reached at 630-460-0857 and 630-747-4760