It's time to start gearing up for the citizens' audits that will verify the electronically tabulated results of the 2016 elections, in Dane County and any other Wisconsin counties where people want to join the effort to improve management of Wisconsin's elections technology.
Almost all large Wisconsin counties now use voting machines that automatically, immediately preserve a digital image of every ballot.
In any of these counties the county clerk or involved citizens could choose to use the images in astoundingly efficient, transparent manual counts to verify the accuracy of the voting-machine output.
The Wisconsin Election Action Team demonstrated the method after the February and April elections in Dane County last year, and will be conducting similar public demonstrations after the 2016 elections.
We have released a report that describes the procedures, benefits and risks of Using Automatically Created Digital Ballot Images to Verify Voting-Machine Output in Wisconsin. (Catchy title, that!) In this report, you will find:
- A technical description of the digital ballot images created by the ES&S DS200 and a picture of one of the images;
- A layperson's description of 'risk-limiting auditing,' the technique that allows audits to count just a sample of the ballots while still achieving statistical certainty that the correct winners were identified (or not);
- A step-by-step description of an efficient, transparent process for conducting a citizens' audit; and
- A frank discussion of the limitations and risks of using digital ballot images for this purpose.
Please pass this along to your friends who live in Dane County and encourage them to mark their calendars for Saturday, March 12, to attend a public, transparent post-election audit that will verify Dane County's results in the February 16 Supreme Count primary and perhaps a few other races. The location wil be announced later--follow Wisconsin Election Integrity on Facebook.
Residents of other Wisconsin counties, please read this report and consider whether you could help to organize a similar citizens' audit in your own county, particularly if you live in one of Wisconsin's larger counties that use optical-scan voting systems. If you can, please contact us at WiscElectionIntegrity@gmail.com, and we can provide you with the necessary software, instructions, and pointers.