HF 682 Would Secure the 2010 Iowa Vote
by Paul Deaton “The
fiscal note for HF 682 states that an audit would cost each of the 99
counties an average of about $100 per year. “For just pennies a vote,
we can do enormous good for Iowa elections,” Flaherty said.”
Iowans for Voting Integrity expressed dismay on Friday when the Iowa Senate indicated it would not move forward on HF 682, a measure which requires a hand count of a random sample of ballots after each general election in order to ensure computerized vote tallies are reliable. Sean Flaherty, co-chair of the group, indicated that by this action, the Iowa Senate failed to secure the vote for the 2010 midterm elections.
“Failing to pass this bill would be a terrible mistake for Iowa elections” said Flaherty. “The state did the right thing and bought paper ballot voting systems that can be manually audited. That’s the most important reliability measure available today, but without Senate action, we won’t be using it,” he added. “That would be unconscionable.”
“Audits are highly cost-effective; they increase voter confidence, deter fraud and provide routine checks on equipment performance,” Flaherty said. The fiscal note for HF 682 states that an audit would cost each of the 99 counties an average of about $100 per year. “For just pennies a vote, we can do enormous good for Iowa elections,” he said.
Despite these facts, Senate aides told members of Iowans for Voting Integrity yesterday that a leading Senator believes post-election audits are a “solution in search of a problem.” Aides have noted that recounts of close elections in Iowa have shown few counting problems and that testing voting machines before the election can detect and deter vote miscounts.
“Recounts occur only when the margin is a hair's whisker,” Flaherty said. “They offer absolutely no assurance about the vast majority of elections. More than half the states do post-election audits. These states have recounts of extremely close races, and they know that it's not enough. You need routine checks,” he said.
“When a task force that includes the President's cyber security adviser and leading authorities on voting systems says audits are necessary, we trust the Senate would listen and take appropriate action,” Flaherty said. California, Ohio, and Connecticut voting equipment reviews examined ballot scanners that are the same as those used in over Iowa’s counties. After their security reviews, California expanded its decades-old post-election audit provision, and both Ohio and Connecticut began conducting audits.
“States that have done security reviews of our same voting equipment are doing the responsible thing and conducting audits,” Flaherty said. “We can’t urge the Senate strongly enough: don't fail Iowa elections,” he said.
Click here to urge your elected officials to pass HF 682. Click here to read the full press release and learn more about Iowans for Voting Integrity. ~Paul Deaton is a native Iowan living in rural Johnson County. Check
out his blog, Big Grove Garden.
E-mail Paul Deaton