Election Integrity Notes

When/if election results are unrepresentative of the will of the people, problems will result.  Governmental funding is money contributed by the citizens.  However, it was not an individual choice to transfer this money – it was a compelled transfer of money.

This combined double threat to a person’s free choice, alongside a taking of a person’s monetary resources, is nothing to take lightly.

Tensions and reactions to perceived improprieties should be 100% expected.  This is why there should be negligible reason to perceive improprieties in elections. 

I have thought about this many times since 2001.  I remember thinking about it quite a bit during an Information Technology Security course I was enrolled in. As my thought process unfolded, one clear conclusion I had was, “Too much time has passed and too many things have changed to trust the same controls against election fraud that were established in the past.”

We need to be readdressing the potential for election fraud and upgrading our methods so that confidence in the process can be renewed.

In Vermont, the public’s access to and participation in governmental decision making as it occurs is written into law.  There’s no question that the tenets of democracy informed the Open Meeting mandate.  And this is great but most citizens do not have the time outside of their own jobs to continually and repeatedly show up to oversee the workings of their government. 

The best efforts must be made to allow their voting effort alone to speak their will.

Revisions I’d imagined in my computer science course 10 years ago attempted to marry advances in technology with people’s need to confirm and see that their vote was cast just as they’d intended – as can be seen where town meetings hold floor votes.

I think that, done properly and making use of available technologies, a change to an increased vote by mail system could be used to ensure integrity – visible to the voters themselves. 

For individual voters wanting to confirm the accurate recording of their vote, a private unique id could be included on the forms.  A web page of the Secretary of State’s office could display the individual votes – with their associated private unique id and the summed totals.  A voter could navigate to their private unique id and confirm their vote. 

I hope that we can soon again be proud of our democracy.