IVN News

Power of the Vote: How to Ensure Every Vote is Counted

Paid Advertisement

In a country with almost 320 million citizens, the secret ballot in elections almost ensures one simple fact–that voting fraud will exist, either from voters or the structure itself.

The secret ballot isn’t a truly time honored institution in America — only universally applied for a little over 100 years. In fact, Grover Cleveland was the first U.S. president elected exclusively by the secret ballot.

Could it be that the secret ballot itself is what truly needs a dose of transparency to ensure accurate and meaningful elections?

Most importantly, with the invention of voting machines we have to know that the votes are being counted correctly and without tampering.

On January 14 in Kansas, a pretrial conference and deadline for motions will take place in a voting trial brought forth from statistician and engineer Beth Clarkson, who claims that there are mathematical anomalies in the 2012 election results that demonstrate possible tampering of the voting machines.

Rather than taking utmost interest in the possibility, the state election offices have stalled, pointed fingers, and refused to comply with even the smallest reasonable demands.

This is the state of the American vote--we have no idea what happens once our ballots are cast.
This is the state of the American vote–we have no idea what happens once our ballots are cast.

Ballot box stuffing is a time honored tradition in almost ever country with polling. Institutionalized fraud exists, yet we ignore the warning signs of potential modern problems.

One of the greatest things that voters should be confident of in a constitutional republic is that the votes, regardless of the results, are accurate.

There are dozens of pet voting reform plans out there, some party-line while others from independents — from eliminating the electoral college to forcing multiple IDs to vote — but all miss the most simple aspect of any voting reform: we must know for a fact that our votes are being counted.

Without this key aspect, all other plans are meaningless.

One novel approach, very viable in the age of computers, is to have ballots that are serial numbered, and anyone with that serial number can view the way the ballot was cast.

This would also give groups significant power in election verification — say, for instance, a candidate’s campaign called for all of the voters that supported them to allow them access to their serial numbers.

Many jurisdictions already have laws that trigger recounts when the vote is statistically close; it is not a huge stretch to think that laws should be enacted to trigger counting paper records when the vote is statistically questionable.

Everyone, from the political parties to the government, from the candidates to the voter should want to know that electronic counting is accurate –yet we never see even a demonstration of this accuracy.

The Kansas voting case will be interesting to see unfold, not just because of the possibility of fraud, but because it will be interesting to see just how much of a fight will be put up to keep citizens from seeing the records.

Because in the end, the power of the vote only matters if those counting them are honest.

Photo Credit: Rob Crandall / Shutterstock.com

Join the discussion Please be relevant and respectful.

The Independent Voter Network is dedicated to providing political analysis, unfiltered news, and rational commentary in an effort to elevate the level of our public discourse.


Learn More About IVN

56 comments
Mr47
Mr47

I live in Colorado and i can track that/when my vote was counted. At least when i lived in Jefferson county. I don't know why this isn't the case for every american but the people should demand the same for their county.

Brent Turner
Brent Turner

Front end GPL open source systems are now deployed in New Hampshire - We are working to have full open source ( voter interface and tabulation ) systems in San Francisco by 2018.   For more info see www.navo-us.org 

Betty Ann Manock
Betty Ann Manock

None of us should ever have to vote on a voting machine that can be manipulated by an outside source with a remote.  No one who votes on this kind of a machine will ever know if their vote was counted correctly or if it was changed by this outside source to vote for someone else.  It is outrageous that anyone would think that this is okay.  Where are the people who oversee our voting machines?  Why are voting machine that can be manipulated even allowed to be used.  They should be returned to the manufacturer and the money paid for them demanded to be returned.  I would never believe but what this was done deliberately in order for certain parties to win.  All voting machines should be checked out before any voting ever starts. 


Stephen Lee
Stephen Lee

Votes without a paper record behind them are suspect. RFID paper is a way to increase ballot trustworthiness. So too would be the serial number and the duplicate or triplicate copy. A technician serviced my heater last month. He wrote on the invoice pad then separated a sheet from the invoice and handed it to me. We separated each having a copy of what he wrote.

S Beth Canon-Williams
S Beth Canon-Williams

Plus all the illegal votes. That's gonna have to stop. There's only one way to make sure only legal votes are there. Thumb print or eye scan.

Ben Hardin
Ben Hardin

Yeah, that may have been one of very few such incidents and I wonder how many times removed from the original "news source" this anecdotal account has been passed around.

Geralyn Reed
Geralyn Reed

it has been my belief for quite some time that our voting system is rigged and broken. it's the electoral college that decides who gets elected and that doesn't always reflect the popular vote and if Donald doesn't win we will know it is defiantely rigged.

Betty Ann Manock
Betty Ann Manock

For Gods' sake, he better not win.  He has some fair ideas but he is a nutcase and would have us in a war the first week he was President.  He thinks that those who yell the loudest is diplomacy.  People are nuts to favor him.  If he does win, it will definitely be because there was some "Hanky Panky" going on.


William M Head
William M Head

Holly Stowe You're an imbecile. What has corporate American wanted that they HAVEN'T received under Obama? He IS one of them.

Scott Tardif
Scott Tardif

Hey,people! A voter registration card is NOT considered a valid identity document ( at least in Florida). But a discount club membership card is? Give me a break! Vote fraud is a GOP red herring and most people are wise to Rethuglican tactics.

Kim Jurincic
Kim Jurincic

#DonaldTRump2016 Michigan female will not back down no matter what VOTING TRUMP!!! Libs are Uneducated look who they are voting for!!! a Killer and a Mental Sociopath LOL for you Libtards that is hillary and bernie!!

Betty Ann Manock
Betty Ann Manock

You are lacking in some skills yourself Kim.  For one thing, the word Sociopath is incorrect.  He is a Democratic Socialist.  See the difference???

Also, along the same lines, the word is not Libtards, it is Liberals.  Now, concerning Donald Trump, I really don't give two hoots and a holler if you vote for him.  We all have our own opinion of who we like and who we don't.  Now I could tell you all about Donald Trump and I wouldn't use the stupid kinds of words that you used to describe him, but I won't.  That would make ME LOOK STUPID, just as your wording did you, but I'm not stupid so I will just mention a couple of things.  Bankruptcies, another one during this election process, divorces, another one pending during this election process, kindness, compassion, knowledge, diplomacy, illiterate,(speaks at 4th grade level, says okay after everything he says, foreign policies are non-existent, and the list could go on and on.  Even the Republicans don't want him to win.  lol!  If he should win, we had better have a really strong Congress that can keep him under control or he will destroy this country so fast that it will make our heads swim.

Holly Stowe
Holly Stowe

Yeah...that's why a leader in the NAACP was prosecuted (and pled guilty) for voting multiple times while saying she wasn't sorry and would gladly do it again. Too, we can't know who exactly filled out any mail-on ballots either.

Holly Stowe
Holly Stowe

What? Haha! And then how is it that we have Obama? Numskull...

Holly Stowe
Holly Stowe

The least we can do is require a photo ID...

Betty Ann Manock
Betty Ann Manock

I have no problem with Photo ID's.  I have a problem with them being difficult to get due to the prejudice against certain people voting in some southern states.  Other areas have jacked the price of them up so that poor people can't afford them.  Still other areas of some states have closed as many as 30 DMV's in the poorer areas in order to cause some folks to not be able to get one so they can vote.  These things are the worst voter fraud because the people doing this are picking on those who cannot defend themselves and that is wrong.  The other voter fraud instances that are absolutely horrendous are the machines that can be manipulated by an outside source with a certain kind of remote that can change votes.  Changing who we vote for and give our votes to the opponent is the worst kind of voter fraud.  As far as any other kind of voter fraud that supposedly happens is much less than many try to make others believe.  I'm sure it happens, but I'd bet money that the two that I mentioned would be many more than the one that so many are "hot under the collar" over.  Just my opinion, but I believe that what I've said is the truth.


Dorthy Crabb
Dorthy Crabb

It needs to be reformed to be sure the vote of the people elect our government and that every vote is counted and verified

Bonnie Coleman
Bonnie Coleman

The electoral college was formed because it was hard for voters to vote. The electoral college is out dated. Our communication is instant and the electoral college counts illegal and legal immigrants with the vote of USA citizens. California will get so many extra electoral votes it will cancel out the New England States.

Scott Smith
Scott Smith

Voting is so rigged you don't even get a recipt for proof of who you voted for,,

Scott Smith
Scott Smith

If ya vote check out Blackboxvoteing.org

Judith Harlan
Judith Harlan

Many votes are thrown out as unreadable...smeared...torn...how many they won't say.

Ronald Tippitt
Ronald Tippitt

The idea that Hillary Clinton has bought out enough super delegates to win the nomination is deeply disturbing. I know that Bernie Sanders has outpaced her everywhere, and if she gets the nomination I fear either a real revolution or that our citizens will develop true apathy as we slide into corporate rule. Our system needs change and it needs to happen quickly.

Sanford Heath
Sanford Heath

And vounted for the person we voted for. Electronic vote machines are easy to cheat.

Mary Wilson
Mary Wilson

A LADY A FILLY LOL BUT I HAD TO REGISTER REPUBLICAN SO IM A FILLY

Robert Weber
Robert Weber

AGAIN AND AGAIN........ THE CONSTITUTION SAYS ............ " ONE LEGAL CITIZEN, ONE LEGAL VOTE". The ELECTORIAL college is suppose to be the " bringing forth the votes of the people in a condensed manner" NOT a process of trading, shuffling, voting other than carrying to totals for each candidate from their districts to be counted as such......... POINT, BLANK, PERIOD........ the manipulation of the Constitution was/ is/ and will continue to be bogas until the intentions of the Writers/ debaters/ Amenders / and passers of the Constitution/ Bill of Rights / Articles of Government -- Procedures, Practices, Policies AS WRITTEN...... All 7,000 words ... Not the 30, 000 words of MANIPULATIONS the two party system installed over the years.

Greg Micka
Greg Micka

Minnesota, another registered voter-"Neighbor" can vouch for person, and thereby vote without ID! Liberal State. Sorry!

Kevin C. Smith
Kevin C. Smith

Your first statement ignores that it is already required to have ID's to vote. Your second statement reminds us that, sadly, it is not required to have any sense.

William M Head
William M Head

The electronic voting machines have been fixed to ensure GOP victories across the US. Now, the billionaires are reaping the benefits.

Michael V Vermillion
Michael V Vermillion

Each state, regardless of population should get the same say as the other. Tired of seing a president elected before my state has finished counting the votes. Complete B.S. That would even the playing field and make the candidates win more than 5 or 6 states to get elected.

Ben Hardin
Ben Hardin

Any person who fraudulently votes or is involved in fraudulent counting at least minimally has little or nothing to gain and everything to lose. To do such illegal acts is thumbing one’s nose at the system of law and order and the penalty thus would probably be as severe as most crimes. Instances of such misbehavior are widely hyped but seldom proven. I have enough concerns, personal and politically, as it is to be bothered. I’ll continue telling myself the handlers of my votes are innocent unless proven guilty.

Dianne Molander
Dianne Molander

The use of electronic voting can easily be corrupted.

Brian Shank
Brian Shank

There are many thousands of government positions voted for every two years, none of which use an electoral system. The electoral college system for president isn't that important of an issue. Requiring that only one candidate can be checked on a ballot with more than two candidates competing for a seat is FAR more harmful to our elections and to the power and political influence of citizens than any other issue, even the electoral college. Get rid of the plurality voting rule! Then we will worry about fixing the less important problem of the electoral college.

David Steffens
David Steffens

Well bush did nothing for Texas,(except screw them on the baseball stadium) and less for the US (except getting us into a iimpossible war)

Brian Shank
Brian Shank

Getting rid of plurality voting rule is the number one most important reform, because it is the most broadly harmful aspect of our voting system, and also because it is the simplest and least disruptive reform that can be made, particularly if plurality is replaced with approval voting.

Wayne Schmidt
Wayne Schmidt

Remember this: it's not in the voting, it's in the counting of votes!

Carol Grant
Carol Grant

But so glad Gore lost he did nothing for Tenn. and ran on his fathers back!!

Mary Wilson
Mary Wilson

IM A REGSTERD FILLY NOW REP FOR Donald Trump For President

Karen McKim
Karen McKim

Most jurisdictions--Chicago might not be one of them--have voter registration and poll checking requirements that prevent all but a handful of individuals from casting duplicate or fraudulent votes. The more dangerous problems are those that can swing enough votes to change the outcome of the election--that is the systemic vulnerabilities that affect the COUNTING of ALL our votes.

KarenMcKim
KarenMcKim

Good points; one flaw: being able to confirm that your vote was recorded correctly gives you no verification that it was added to the correct candidate's total. Election officials need transparently and routinely to verify that the machines identified the correct winners. If a valid paper record has been made of each ballot, there is a way to verify the outcome without doing a full hand recount. Google "risk-limiting auditing" to learn more.

Chris Lowery
Chris Lowery

Votes do NOT count...thanks to the Electoral College ;)

Paul Lillebo
Paul Lillebo

Yes, we must know that our votes are counted, and equally important, we must know that illegal votes are not counted. I'm from Chicago and I know whereof I speak. This is not a great problem everywhere, but any community can become like Chicago if there are not safeguards in place against fake, unqualified, or multiple voting.

Don Greer
Don Greer

I say return to paper ballots. Computer voting can be too easily rigged and to not be not verifiable.

Brad Ashwell
Brad Ashwell

Problem stated is right but this solution probably wouldn't get at the more common problems that lead to votes not being counted in my state. In FL the more common problems are provisionals in question being processed with no time to notify voters who screwed up their signatures or address, problems with absentee ballots, outdated signatures, and things that lead to provisionals like bad info from poll workers, precinct & poll place changes, etc...

David Steffens
David Steffens

I think the biggest question of vote count came with George W Bush questionable election he won the questionable electoral vote but not the popular vote which Gore actually got