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Nader Calls For Paper Audit Trail For Elections

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

March 2, 2004
Ralph Nader Calls For
Paper Audit Trail For Elections
(a statement by Ralph Nader on Super Tuesday)

A bedrock of democracy is making sure that every vote counts. The counting of votes needs to be transparent so people can trust that their vote is counted as they cast it. Paperless electronic voting on touch screen machines does not provide confidence to ensure votes are counted the way voters intend. The software on which votes are counted is protected as a corporate trade secret and the software is so complex that if malicious code was embedded no analysis could discover it. Further, because there is no voter verified paper record, it is not possible to audit the electronic vote for accuracy, nor is it possible to conduct an independent recount. This Primary Day six million voters will be voting on paperless electronic voting machines. This is a grotesquely designed, over-complicated expensive system fraught with the potential for mistakes and undetected fraud.

On July 23, 2003 the Johns Hopkins Information Security Institute reviewed the electronic voting system in Maryland and found that it had security "far below even the most minimal security standards...." Johns Hopkins computer security experts concluded: "If we do not change the process of designing our voting systems, we will have no confidence that our election results will reflect the will of the electorate."

Computers are inherently subject to programming error, equipment malfunction, and malicious tampering. If we are to ensure fair and honest elections, and retain voter confidence in our democratic process, we need to ensure that there are no such questions. Therefore, it is crucial that any computerized voting system provide a voter-verifiable paper audit trail and that random audits of electronic votes be conducted on Election Day. Paperless electronic voting machines make it impossible to safeguard the integrity of our vote thereby threatening the very foundation of our democracy.

The seller of the machines, the Diebold Corporation, is a supplier of money to one of the major party candidates, George W. Bush. The CEO and top officers of Diebold are major contributors to the Bush campaign. This does not pass the smell test. Voters should report immediately any suspected malfunctions and deficiencies at voting precincts around the country to their Board of Elections. And voters should urge their legislators to require a voter verified paper ballot trail for random audits and independent recounts.

-- 30 --

For background and further information, please link to:

Nader for President 2004 Campaign http://www.votenader.org

The Voter Choice Coalition http://www.voterchoice.org/auditableballots.php


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