How Can We Prevent Fraud In Our Election Process?
1. Identify and review in detail all current rules, regulations and processes, including equipment and software used by our local elections office.
2. Analyze the identified material and equipment information to identify the potential fail points (places where fraud can take place) in all areas of the election process.
3. Knowing 1 and 2 above, we need to find solutions to the fail points.
4. Lastly, work with other organizations and the state legislators to get the necessary changes made to reduce or eliminate voter fraud.
We have started a project to ensure Election Integrity and to prevent voter fraud. We are looking at the election process end to end in order to identify areas of potential failure, which could result in fraud. In addition, we expect to identify areas that need better checks and balances and possible legislative changes to rules or processes.
Voter Fraud is possible because of inadequate rules, regulations, and processes. An example would be not requiring a picture voter ID in order to vote, which will hopefully be ruled legal at some point. If we can get clear, concise rules, regulations, and processes approved and enforced, we could virtually eliminate Voter Fraud.
In order to prevent fraud, we need to fully understand the election system end to end and all the associated parts. So let’s take a look at the election system. There are basically three major areas of the election system:
We will take these one at a time indicating some of the questions that need to be answered.
For every area, we must gather the documentation, rules, and process information and then analyze for any gaps in the process that would allow potential fraud or errors.
End-to-End Detailed Review
1. Voter Registration & Validation
There four ways a citizen may register to vote:
a) In Person at the Department of Public Safety
Do they validate person registering is qualified to register to vote? (e.g. over 17, citizen, resident of county/state, no criminal record.) If so, what rules and procedures do they follow? What is the procedure DPS uses to send the information to the elections office? What is the delivery method and time frame? Are there state documents that describe these procedures? We need to review them for completeness and ensure there are not fail points or lack of checks and balances.
b) At the Elections Office
In Person Voter Registration
What rules and procedures do they follow to validate the person registering is qualified to register (eg. over 17, citizen, resident of county/state, no criminal record)? Do they have access to the SAVE government database?
c) By mail Voter Registration – Same basic questions as above should be asked.
Non-military and military registrations
d) From Deputy Registrars (individuals who are deputized or sworn-in to register voters). Same questions as above should be asked.
a) By Mail (Absentee Voters)
What are the procedures for a citizen to obtain a ballot and return the ballot? What does the citizen have to provide to prove they are qualified to vote? What validations does the Election Office perform?
b) In Person at Polling Location
What method is used to validate the person is qualified to vote?
3) Voting Equipment
What are the specifications of the equipment? Where is the documentation? What are the likely points of failure? Who is the manufacturer, what testing and calibrations are done by the state or the county to ensure accuracy and that access points can’t be tampered with? What are the state requirements?
Who owns the software code? Who validates the code? What software does the county use? What is the purpose of the various software units (if there is more than one)? How is the software tested? What areas are vulnerable to fraud? (We have some good initial information in this area for the volunteers in this area.)
Most of the information related to the election process is documented in federal, state and county documents. In most cases, these documents are available on line.
As you can see, there are numerous processes and sub-processes that need to be reviewed and analyzed. To do this we need volunteers. How about you?