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Election Transparency and Integrity


Local Advocates Excited About Bringing Greater Transparency to Marin Elections

Free Demonstration of Ballot Tabulation and Election Results Transparency System

Hosted by Lori Grace

What: Creating More Reliability in Marin’s Elections: Demonstration of TEV counting system.
When: Tuesday, October 5th, 5 pm and 7 pm (two separate demonstrations)
Where: Embassy Suites (near the Marin Civic Center) in the Novato Room, 101 McInnis Parkway, San Rafael, California.

Mitch Trachtenberg, developer of the free, open source Trachtenberg Election Verification system (TEV), will demonstrate the TEV software and explain how it is currently being used in other counties, and how it can be implemented in Marin.

The event, sponsored by the Grace Institute for Democracy and Election Integrity, hosted by Lori Grace will feature a demonstration of the Trachtenberg Election Verification system, followed with a discussion of how it is currently being used in other California counties.

This fall, the Departments of Elections in both Humboldt and Yolo Counties will be using the TEV system to tabulate ballots in their respective Counties during the upcoming November election.

The TEV system first attracted attention in Humboldt County in November, 2008 when an open source tabulator was used to count ballots side-by-side with the County’s Diebold tabulator. It showed that the Diebold tabulator dropped almost 200 votes – a surprisingly high number in a small county like Humboldt.  Although it did not change the results in that particular election, such discrepancies could determine election outcomes in other contests.

Developer Mitch Trachtenberg created an outstanding process which is apart of the “Humboldt County” project.  We, at the Grace Institute, would love to see this free, open source Trachtenberg Election Verification system spread across to many more counties.

The free demonstration is scheduled for Oct. 5th, at 5 pm and 7 pm and is open to all.

How does it work?

It works like this: Using this system, ballots are counted by an open source tabulator side by side with the corporate tabulator, used by that particular county. In Marin’s case the corporation is Diebold, which was put up for sale because of its multiple problems and then was bought first by ES&S and the Dominion. The open source tabulator puts on the web or on a DVD all of the ballots which are  made public for all to see. The ballots are anonymous of course — no ballot can be connected with the person who cast it. You could count them one by one if you want, but the free, open source software developed by Mitch Trachtenberg provides you with a tool to count and analyze all the ballots, even in large locations with hundreds of thousands of votes. It is a software that anyone can use on their own computer to examine batches of ballots. The transparency inherent in this system is in great contrast to the secrecy and lack of transparency that so often is typified in systems run by companies, like Diebold, ES&S, Sequoia and Hart InterCivic who insist on privacy and claim their systems as proprietary.

About Mitch Trachtenberg:
Mitch Trachtenberg is an independent software developer and trainer, and a volunteer with the Humboldt County Election Transparency Project.  He developed free, open source software to enable redundant counting of optical scan ballots, enabling citizens to conduct their own counts to check those reported using proprietary voting machines. Mitch has taught computer graphics programming and graphical user interface design on behalf of Silicon Graphics, Bell Northern Research, Northern Telecom, the Open Software Foundation, and other groups.

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