Yesterday was a rare hopeful day in the life of this election transparency activist. I had the pleasure of meeting with the Honorable Matt Dunlap, Secretary of State of Maine. While 240 communities in Maine hand count all races in every election, other jurisdictions use electronic voting machines that produce digital ballot images.
Dunlap assured me that in the cities and towns where the ES&S DS200 digital scanners are in place, the ballot images are saved. Matt recognizes that they are a public record. Maine is a model, making AUDIT-USA’s ballot images strategy for election transparency a reality.
Dunlap Stood Up to Trump’s Sham “Election Integrity” Commission
Many of us in the election integrity community nationally are grateful for the positions SoS Dunlap has taken regarding Trump’s “Election Integrity Commission.” Even though he was a member of the Commission, Matt had to file suit to get the Commission to provide him with information about Commission business! And after Matt won the suit, Trump closed the Commission rather than provide the documents.
Matt’s stand on transparency is refreshing. He publicly challenged Commission Vice Chair Kris Kobach, who’s also the SoS of Kansas, on claims of voter fraud [watch short video]. Matt pointed out that there has never been significant evidence that voter fraud is a real problem. (Election fraud is another matter!)
Good Track Record for Transparency
Maine does elections right! They’ve got same day voter registration, which decreases voter disenfranchisement and addresses the problem of voter registration database manipulation. Maine has more jurisdictions that count votes by hand than any other state in the nation. (And you can tell me that it’s because it’s a small state, but states that have more voters also have more potential counters!) They don’t disenfranchise folks who made mistakes in life: prisoners can even vote from jail! I did that myself when I was 18 in Maine in 1971.
Matt’s supports ranked-choice voting and is implementing this method of elections in Maine’s June primary. While ranked-choice voting is in theory great for democracy, most ranked-choice elections are counted by software-based machines. This makes them vulnerable to manipulation. In Maine, the public availability of the ballot images should provide a deterrent to any would-be hackers while giving the public a way to verify election results.
I see Maine as a special state. We can hope that “As Maine goes, so goes the nation.” Thank you, Maine and S0S Matt Dunlap for doing it right when it comes to ballot image protection and access, plus same-day voter registration.
Thanks to Kyle Bailey and all the folks who made ranked choice voting a reality in in Maine!! You rock!!
Still on the Road
Maine was the fourth state I’ve visited on my current election transparency tour (following Virginia, Maryland, and Rhode Island). I’m in Massachusetts now, and will be returning to Rhode Island and visiting Pennsylvania, Washington D.C., and Ohio before I go home. I miss my wonderful family.
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You note the desirability of ranked choice voting but shy away from it because it generally needs software for tabulation. The RCV Resource Center, rankedchoicevoting.org, has independently developed a “Universal RCV Tabulator” the is open source, free software for use in tabulating or verifying RCV vote counts. We have independently verified the results certified by both Maine and Minneapolis in their RCV elections using their published cast vote records.
We certainly agree that independent verification of election results is extremely desirable. We also feel that software is likely to be necessary in the process. We are hopeful that our open source, independent software can make a positive contribution toward providing trustworthy election results verification and invite you to examine it.
Our RCV tabulator is in the final stages of certification testing by an EAC approved Voting Systems Testing Lab (VSTL). It represents the first piece of open source elections software to be submitted for testing against the VVSG standards.