The Center for Hand-Counted Paper Ballots is a non-partisan organization, created with the intention of ensuring that each voter knows that her or his vote counts and is counted as intended. For voters to have confidence in our election system, counting of votes must be perceived as being fair and must BE fair; the entire election process must be transparent.
This must be done WHILE WE STILL HAVE TIME — new web site for new book by Sheila Parks.
Women celebrating the passage of Amendment XIX — ratified on August 18, 1920, certified on August 26, 1920 and became the law of the land.
Used with permission of BPW/USA.
"Fighting For" Song by Natali Freed & Sheila Parks for the Center for Hand-Counted Paper Ballots, July 18, 2012.
Hacking the Machines: How voting machines are inherently insecure; also includes articles about suspicious actions associated with the voting machine industry.
For Hand-Counting: Why we need to have publicly observed hand-counted paper ballots (HCPB) elections with a secure chain of custody; several other technologically advanced countries are already doing this.
Voting Rights: The United States Constitution has two amendments forbidding discrimination in voting rights with respect to race and gender. Citizens should not then have these rights rendered meaningless on account of not being in control of vote counting.
Welcome to the
Center for Hand-Counted Paper Ballots
Publicly observed hand-counted paper ballots (HCPB) elections are a solution to the fraud and error associated with the use of electronic voting machines (both touchscreens / DRE‘s and optical scans) and the control of our elections by a privatized electronic voting machine industry that has shown itself to be willing and able to change votes against the voter's will.
“An 11-year-old girl and an 11-year-old boy independently hacked electronic voting machines at Def Con in Las Vegas, August 2018. In September 2018, Kim Zetter asks us in ‘The Crisis of Election Security’: ‘As the midterms approach, America's electronic voting systems are more vulnerable than ever. Why isn't anyone trying to fix them?’ Moreover, ‘The Voting Machines In The [Emmy nominated] Feature Film HACKING DEMOCRACY Counted America's Votes In The November 2016 Elections,’ the film website starkly reminds us. These voting machines will again be used to count our votes on November 6, 2018, in the upcoming midterms.
To see what kind of machines are used in each state and if there is even a paper trail if the state uses touchscreens/DRE's, Verified Voting has answers on The Verifier - ‘Polling Place Equipment - November 2018.’
Saving our elections cannot be done by paper ballots and post election audits. There is only one way to do so, to make sure that we have honest, secure elections. That each of our votes is counted as cast: elections with hand-counted paper ballots.
Here is democracy's solution, democracy in our hands: young people, elders, and everyone in between get paid $20/hour to hand-count and/or observe the hand-counting of the paper ballots. My thoughts are that states would be crowded full of people who want to hand-count and observe an honest count of our elections. The right to vote and have our vote counted as cast is the most important right and vote we have: all our other rights rest on this.”
Two 11 year olds, in 10 & 15 mins, hack replica Florida state election website, change voting results found there.
“Nico Sell, the co-founder of the the non-profit r00tz Asylum, which teaches children how to become hackers and helped organize the event, said an 11-year-old girl also managed to make changes to the same Florida replica website in about 15 minutes, tripling the number of votes found there.
Sell said more than 30 children hacked a variety of other similar state replica websites in under a half hour.
‘These are very accurate replicas of all of the sites,’ Sell told the PBS NewsHour on Sunday. ‘These things should not be easy enough for an 8-year-old kid to hack within 30 minutes, it's negligent for us as a society.’
Sell said the idea for the event began last year, after adult hackers were able to access similar voting sites in less than five minutes.
‘So this year we decided to bring the voting village to the kids as well,’ she said…”
“In a statement regarding the event, the National Association of Secretaries of State said it is ‘ready to work with civic-minded members of the DEFCON community wanting to become part of a proactive team effort to secure our elections.’ But the organization expressed skepticism over the hackers' abilities to access the actual state websites.
‘It would be extremely difficult to replicate these systems since many states utilize unique networks and custom-built databases with new and updated security protocols,’ it read. ‘While it is undeniable websites are vulnerable to hackers, election night reporting websites are only used to publish preliminary, unofficial results for the public and the media. The sites are not connected to vote counting equipment and could never change actual election results.’
But Sell said the exercise the children took part in demonstrates the level of security vulnerabilities found in the U.S. election system.
‘To me that statement says that the secretaries of states are not taking this seriously. Although it's not the real voting results it's the results that get released to the public. And that could cause complete chaos,’ she said. ‘The site may be a replica but the vulnerabilities that these kids were exploiting were not replicas, they're the real thing.’
‘I think the general public does not understand how large a threat this is, and how serious a situation that we're in right now with our democracy,’ she said.”
“I am very excited that the Parkland youth and all your allies are taking on the issue of voting. Thanks to you, I am imagining hundreds of thousands of youth from across the country counting all our paper ballots by hand. The hand counting must be publicly observed, live-streamed and have a secure chain of custody from blank ballot to ballot box to final tally sheets, with archived ballots ready to recount if any election is contested. This in the 2018 midterm elections, the 2020 presidential election and beyond, at all levels of government, from the smallest municipality to county and state elections as well as national elections.
Parkland youth and all your allies, we the people need you to call for and demand that you yourselves hand count the paper ballots (HCPB) to ensure honest elections. Insisting on transparent HCPB elections will help to bring us the gun laws that stop the horrific killing in schools and elsewhere.
Otherwise, we will continue to have election fraud, as all electronic voting machines can be hacked, both DRE's/touchscreens and optical scans. And this does not even touch the rampant suppression of the vote.
In 2013, I wrote about the first season of the brilliant TV show "Scandal" by Shonda Rhimes. One of its major themes was the rigging of an election in Defiance, Ohio: ‘Election Rigging Plotted on ABC's Scandal: The Real Life Backstory.’ The main character investigating the rigging of the election via the electronic voting machines was killed off later. It is often alleged that a very high vote for a candidate prevents election fraud. Better yet, instead, let's make sure that hand-counted paper ballots prevent election fraud…”
“Microsoft detected and helped block hacking attempts against three congressional candidates this year, a company executive said Thursday, marking the first known example of cyber interference in the midterm elections.
‘Earlier this year, we did discover that a fake Microsoft domain had been established as the landing page for phishing attacks,’ said Tom Burt, Microsoft's vice president for security and trust, at the Aspen Security Forum. ’And we saw metadata that suggested those phishing attacks were being directed at three candidates who are all standing for election in the midterm elections.’
Burt declined to name the targets but said they were ‘people who, because of their positions, might have been interesting targets from an espionage standpoint as well as an election disruption standpoint.’”
by Kim Zetter (Motherboard, July 17, 2018).
“The nation's top voting machine maker has admitted in a letter to a federal lawmaker that the company installed remote-access software on election-management systems it sold over a period of six years, raising questions about the security of those systems and the integrity of elections that were conducted with them.”
This contradicts previous statements by Election Systems and Software, made as recently as February 2018, as described in “The Myth of the Hacker-Proof Voting Machine” by Kim Zetter, February 21, 2018, in the New York Times Magazine.
“A bipartisan panel was convened on Tuesday, July 10, by several Election Integrity (EI) organizations as well as FreedomWorks to discuss election cybersecurity as it relates to the upcoming midterm election…
Grayson ask Halderman what he thought about the new digital-image optical scanners now on the market. Halderman answered that since the images are computer-generated, they are vulnerable to all possible problems this infers. ‘There is no substitute for paper,’ he said.
Added Hursti, Digital images require TRUST [i.e. are ‘faith-based’] in their accuracy. Halderman describes such pitfalls in terms of the Volkswagen scandal a few years ago, when the vehicles' computers were found only to operate when being tested, not when in actual use, a huge safety hazard to drivers…
Grayson's opening question, directed to Halderman, concerned what to do before Election 2018.”
“This demonstration uses a real voting system and real vote databases and takes place in seconds across multiple jurisdictions. Over 5000 subcontractors and middlemen have the access to perform this for any or all clients. It can give contract signing authority to whoever the user chooses. All political power can be converted to the hands of a few anonymous subcontractors. It's a product. It's scaleable. It learns its environment and can adjust to any political environment, any demographic. It runs silently, invisibly, and can produce plausible results that really pass for the real thing.”
On August 9, 2016, the Boston Globe published this Letter to the Editor by Sheila Parks, Founder, Center for Hand-Counted Paper Ballots:
A clear and fair process for hand-counting ballots
The gold standard for counting votes is to hand-count paper ballots and to do so twice. Here is some more of what is needed: to have precincts with no more than one thousand registered voters; to have observers watching and to live-stream the counting; to have all parties on the ballot be counters and observers; to pay them $15 per hour — for doing one of the most, if not the most, important job in our society. Our right to vote and to have our votes counted as cast is the right that all our other rights rest on.
On Nov. 6, 2007, I observed Acton, Maine, count its votes in real time in the general election. With seven races and two initiatives, six teams of two people each hand-counted twice 944 ballots in four hours. So it can be done.
Counting should occur at each precinct immediately after polls close and be recorded and archived. Results should be posted at each precinct, immediately after the counting. Chain of custody of the ballots and ballot boxes should be specified. Ballot boxes should be observed 24/7 and a video record created as boxes are opened and closed and moved from place to place.
Electronic voting machines are not involved in this process in any way. Nor is there any connection to the Internet at any time.
(We recommend that you watch the following video full screen so that you can read the labels on the voting machine screen.)
Hand-counted paper ballots elections require new protocols to be implemented. Therefore, there is a need for information and training for election officials, other poll workers, and voters. We can also help you with ballot boxes and recruitment of hand-counters. Hand-counted paper ballots elections are not only much less expensive than buying, upgrading, maintaining, and storing electronic voting machines but also keep the money in the community.
We are against any form of voting that does not guarantee that votes are counted as cast. If you think your vote is counted as cast in our current system, think again.
We love this image for its highlighting of fraud by some voting machines. However, this does not discount the widespread existence of fraud by optical scan machines. The Emmy-nominated 81 minute documentary, Hacking Democracy (web site and video/DVD link), originally aired on HBO, shows Finnish computer expert Harri Hursti and BlackBoxVoting hacking the optical scan voting machines.
Verified Voting lists here all states in the USA and the kind of election equipment used in 2010 in all the jurisdictions in each state.
The right to vote, as well as the principle of "one person, one vote," are cornerstones of our democracy. The anti-slavery, women’s suffrage, and civil rights movements as well as the expansion of voting to young people are all part of the history of electoral reform in this country. Equally fundamental is the assurance that each voter knows that her or his vote counts and is counted as intended. At this time in our history, many have lost confidence in our voting system. publicly observed secure hand-counted paper ballots elections, with a secure chain of custody of the ballots, will bring transparency and honesty to our elections and make sure that the real winners take office.
“It took me around 10 minutes to crash the upcoming midterm elections. Once I accessed the shockingly simple and vulnerable set of tables that make up the state election board's database, I was able to shut down the website that would tally the votes, bringing the election to a screeching halt. The data were lost completely. And just like that, tens of thousands of votes vanished into thin air, throwing an entire election, and potentially control of the House or Senate—not to mention our already shaky confidence in the democratic process itself—into even more confusion, doubt, and finger-pointing.
“Can hackers tamper with your vote? Researchers show it's possible in nearly 30 states”, by Tim Johnson, Greg Gordon And Christine Condon (McClatchy DC Bureau, August 14, 2018). “Top computer researchers gave a startling presentation recently about how to intercept and switch votes on emailed ballots, but officials in the 30 or so states said the ease with which votes could be changed wouldn't alter their plans to continue offering electronic voting in some fashion.
Two states — Washington and Alaska — have ended their statewide online voting systems.
The developments, amid mounting fears that Russians or others will try to hack the 2018 midterm elections, could heighten pressure on officials on other U.S. states to reconsider their commitment to online voting despite repeated admonitions from cybersecurity experts.
But a McClatchy survey of election officials in a number of states that permit military and overseas voters to send in ballots by email or fax — including Alabama, Kansas, Missouri, North Carolina, South Carolina and Texas — produced no immediate signs that any will budge on the issue. Some chief election officers are handcuffed from making changes, even in the name of security, by state laws permitting email and fax voting.
At the world's largest and longest-running hacker convention, two researchers from a Portland, Ore., nonpartisan group that studies election security showed how, in about two hours, they could set up a sham server and program it to intercept and alter ballots attached to emails.
‘Ballots sent over email are not secure,’ said Lyell Read, one of the researchers from the group Free & Fair. ‘As long as people have a chance to vote another way, that's probably a good decision.’”
“After nearly an hour and a half, Carsten Schürmann, an associate professor with IT-University of Copenhagen, successfully cracked into a voting machine at Las Vegas' Defcon convention on Friday night, CNET reports.
Schürmann penetrated Advanced Voting Solutions' 2000 WinVote machine through its Wi-Fi system. Using a Windows XP exploit from 2003, he was able to remotely access the machine, CNET reports.…”
“Synack, a San Francisco security platform, discovered serious flaws with the WinVote machine months ahead of this weekend's convention. The team simply plugged in a mouse and keyboard and bypassed the voting software by clicking ‘control-alt-delete.’
‘It's really just a matter of plugging your USB drive in for five seconds and the thing's completely compromised at that point,’ Synack co-founder Jay Kaplan told CNET. ‘To the point where you can get remote access. It's very simple.’
The Synack team also cracked the machine from a mobile application by installing a remote desktop program to it. In one case study, Synack found a Virginia poll worker hacked the machine to play Minesweeper.
A hacker, who only identified himself as ‘Oyster,’ tried to crack a Diebold voting machine after another team had compromised it.…”
“Anne-Marie Hwang, a Synack intern, told CNET that changing votes can be as simple as updating a Microsoft Excel document
‘Hacking it is good because it's able to inform politicians and people in Congress about what they should do with voting machines,’ Hwang said. ‘If no one ever hacked them, we might be still using things like this.’”
“Hackers breach dozens of voting machines brought to conference”, by Joe Uchill (The Hill, July 29, 2017). “LAS VEGAS – One of the nation's largest cybersecurity conferences is inviting attendees to get hands-on experience hacking a slew of voting machines, demonstrating to researchers how easy the process can be.
‘It took me only a few minutes to see how to hack it,’ said security consultant Thomas Richards, glancing at a Premier Election Solutions machine currently in use in Georgia.
The DEF CON cybersecurity conference is held annually in Las Vegas. This year, for the first time, the conference is hosting a ‘Voting Machine Village,’ where attendees can try to hack a number of systems and help catch vulnerabilities.
The conference acquired 30 machines for hackers to toy with. Every voting machine in the village was hacked.”
“Defcon hackers find it's very easy to break voting machines” “Voting is at the foundation of every democracy. Hackers find it's on shaky ground thanks to shoddy technology.”, by Alfred Ng (CNET, July 30, 2017). “The village is expected to return to Defcon for the next three years, right up until Trump's potential re-election campaign. The hackers at Defcon hope by 2020, their exploits will lead to changes in voting booth technology.
‘Hacking it is good because it's able to inform politicians and people in Congress about what they should do with voting machines,’ Hwang said. ‘If no one ever hacked them, we might be still using things like this.’”
“It took DEF CON hackers minutes to pwn these US voting machines” “We've got three years to shore up election security”, by Iain Thomson (The Register, July 29, 2017). “DEF CON After the debacle of the 2000 presidential election count, the US invested heavily in electronic voting systems — but not, it seems, the security to protect them.
This year at the DEF CON hacking conference in Las Vegas, 30 computer-powered ballot boxes used in American elections were set up in a simulated national White House race — and hackers got to work physically breaking the gear open to find out what was hidden inside.
In less than 90 minutes, the first cracks in the systems' defenses started appearing, revealing an embarrassing low level of security. Then one was hacked wirelessly.
‘Without question, our voting systems are weak and susceptible. Thanks to the contributions of the hacker community today, we've uncovered even more about exactly how,’ said Jake Braun, who sold DEF CON founder Jeff Moss on the idea earlier this year.”
One important note: voting machines increasingly use Digital Rights Management (DRM) to restrict software updates, which triggers Section 1201 of the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), under which security researchers face potential criminal and civil penalties for revealing defects in products that are designed to control access to copyrighted works.”
It took less than a day for attendees at the DefCon hacking conference to find and exploit vulnerabilities in five different voting machine types.
The first ones were discovered within an hour and 30 minutes. And none of these vulnerabilities has ever been found before, they'll [sic] all new,’ said Harri Hursti, co-coordinator of the event.
One group even managed to rick-roll a touch screen voting machine, getting it to run Rick Astley's song ‘Never Gonna Give You Up,’ from 1987.” ….
“Several groups took machines apart, others found ports meant for election officials and plugged computers and testing devices into them to see what the [sic] could gain access to. Wireless and networked hacks were also attempted.
But much of the work didn't involve hacking at all.
‘It just took us a couple of hours on Google to find passwords that let us unlock the administrative functions on this machine,’ said Pfeifer, whose group was working on a touch screen voting machine. ‘Now we're working on where we can go from there.’”
Top hacker conference to target voting machines, by Edward-Isaac Dover (05/23/2017). At DEFCON 2017 this July, hackers will show how vulnerable voting machines are. Maybe this will put an end to the crimes/hacking/rigging of our elections via all the electronic voting machines. Or at least get it into the mainstream news media.
Simons: Why we must recount by hand, by Barbara Simons (11/29/2016). The recounts in Wisconsin (and other states, if applicable) must be done by hand. To use the same machines that may have done the count incorrectly in the first place would be insane.
Did the GOP Strip & Flip the 2016 Selection?, by Bob Fitrakis & Harvey Wasserman (11/18/2016). The system really is rigged . . . just not the way Donald Trump says it is. By way of the slavery-inspired Electoral College, stripping of voter rolls, and outright discarding and flipping of votes, the GOP is able to win again and again, regardless of how much the pundits say it is in trouble.
Columbia County becoming known for hand-counting votes. Virginia Martin, Election Commissioner of Columbia County, New York gains notice for her rigorous voting integrity policy, starting with hand-counting votes. Click here for a larger photo featuring her summer reading collection, including While We Still Have Time: The Perils of Electronic Voting Machines and Democracyï¿½s Solution: Publicly Observed, Secure, Hand-counted Paper Ballot Elections by Sheila Parks. By John Mason (Columbia-Greene Media) (07/07/2015) You can buy this book here
Why Hillary Can't Win. It's not just the obvious double standard. To all of those fighting TPP, who think they can vote the 14 democratic senator traitors out of office, think again. And to everyone else who still does not get it, read this article now about the rigging of our elections via all the electronic voting machines -- touchsreens AND optical scans. By Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman. (06/24/2015)
They're at it again. North Carolina voters report voting machines switching their votes from Dem to GOP candidate, by Tom Boggioni (11/02/2014).
Wisconsins' red-to-blue swings by Marianne Moonhouse and Barbara With (10/24/2014), both in WI. Specifically about WI, but applicable to all elections, which can be rigged via electronic voting machines, both optical scans and touchscreens.
Scandal ABC blogs by Sheila Parks
Sheila Parks is blogging weekly about Shonda Rhimes' brilliant ABC TV show Scandal that is highlighting election rigging in Ohio. “Steal the White House? Yes, we can. Been done before. Will be done again.”
Election hacked, drunken robot elected to school board. In 2010, U. Michigan Professor Alex Halderman and 2 graduate students hacked the Washington, DC e-voting system in a public test 3 weeks before it was to be used in an actual election. In their original report, they point out that even seemingly minor flaws provide security holes. At the RSA security conference in March 2012, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories computer scientist and Verified Voting chair David Jefferson warned that this kind of attack shows that internet voting systems are inherently insecure (article Part 1, Part 2).
The US Election Assistance Commission announces that ES&S DS200 optical scan e-voting machines ("IntElect") have lots of problems during actual voting. These machines read paper ballots that voters feed into them at their precincts, and are used in Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio (more info here), New York, and Wisconsin. But no decertification: according to the EAC's Brian Hancock, "Our goal is not to decertify systems. We never want to be in a situation of putting counties in a position where they cannot run an election."
Action item: On pages 135 - 137 in his book Mike's Election Guide 2008, Michael Moore calls for hand-counted paper ballots (HCPB). He has promised to write another paper to OWS about elections, and has asked for comments. Write him to remind him of his own words, to include HCPB elections in the new article. Here are 5 e-mail addresses to reach him, since some may bounce with "mailbox full": (#1, #2, #3, #4, #5).
In New Hampshire, this is the worst yet: Deputy Secretary of State David Scanlan calls voting rights activists "special interest groups" and accuses them of threatening election integrity. Thanks to Nancy Tobi for posting the Scanlan letter at the end of this article.
Read Hacking Our Elections With Big Money And Power, by Michael Collins and Sheila Parks, August 24, 2011. This describes the formula for modern elections: Candidates must have corporate financial backing to win; these financial resources, in turn are backed by our fraudulent machine-mediated election system. We must adopt a system of publicly hand-counted paper ballots to break the election machine part of this chain of corruption.
The Center for Hand-Counted Paper Ballots asks Wisconsin recall candidates to file an injunction to impound all electronic voting machines and ballots immediately after the election (August 7, 2011).
Listen to Sheila Parks on We The People with Sara Schulz (a radio show in Wisconsin), July 30, 2011, talking about election fraud and hand-counted paper ballots. Download the recording of this show here.
By Grant W. Petty and Sheila Parks, July 9, 2011: "It goes without saying that the outcomes of the nine Senate recall elections scheduled in Wisconsin will be of intense interest.... Forecasting the outcome of elections weeks in advance is always a risky business; nevertheless, we offer the following bold predictions...." READ MORE
Read Victoria Collier's open letter of June 5, 2011 and Sheila Parks' WISCONSIN: DEMOCRACY IN OUR HANDS, both about the activists' fight against Governor Scott Walker's assault on freedom in Wisconsin. "The bottom line is, as long as you are using Touch Screens and Optical Scanners to count your votes, the recalls can be manipulated. Even if you manage to secure a full 'audit' of the paper ballots, what happens if you detect anomalies in the count?" The recall elections are to be done on the same electronic voting machines that could have rigged the elections in the first place as well as the Supreme Court recount.
Read Sheila Parks' new article Down the Rabbit Hole With Democracy and Three Urgent Pleas. "When our children and grandchildren ask me what I am doing in this crucial time to stop our government from murdering people at home and abroad, I want to be able to tell them that I am doing everything I possibly can to get democracy in this country for all the people, for the first time ever, and to end these brutal behaviors everywhere. Don't you?" Parks writes about the myth of democracy past and present in the USA and about the absolute necessity for secure hand-counted paper ballots (HCPB) elections and a machine-free voting system to enable the will of the people of this country, whose voice is now drowned out by giant corporations that control every aspect of government, including the electoral system.
Here is a reminder that the United States is not the only country facing corporate subversion of democracy by way of electronic voting machines. For instance, the same thing is well under way in Estonia, and just like in the United States, much of the judicial system is against the people.
After New York got optical scan electronic voting machines, Columbia County election commissioners decided to have voters hand-count the votes (also see this new article). If you are an election official and want to talk with commissioner Virginia Martin about why and how they did the hand count, she has invited that you contact her by e-mail (vmartin at govt.co.columbia.ny.us; change the "at" and spaces to the proper symbol).