[E-voting] LVW Supports VVAT (cross posted from Cryptogram)

Keith Martin keith at keith.gs
Sun Jul 16 15:16:32 IST 2006

Bruce Schneier reports in this month's "Cryptogram" (www.schneier.com) that
the League of Women Voters in the US has adopted a strong pro-VVAT stance.
His article is below.
The League of Women Voters Supports Voter-Verifiable Paper Trails

For a long time, the League of Women Voters (LWV) had been on the wrong side
of the electronic voting machine issue. They were in favor of electronic
machines, and didn't see the need for voter-verifiable paper trails. (They
use to have a horrid and misleading Q&A about the issue on their website,
but it's gone now. Barbara Simons published a rebuttal, which includes their
original Q&A.)

The politics of the LWV are Byzantine, but basically there are local leagues
under state leagues, which in turn are under the national 

(LWVUS) league. There is a national convention once every other year, and
all sorts of resolutions are passed by the membership. But the 

national office can do a lot to undercut the membership and the state
leagues. The politics of voting machines is an example of this.

At the 2004 convention, the LWV membership passed a resolution on electronic
voting called "SARA," which stood for "Secure, Accurate, Recountable, and
Accessible." Those in favor of the resolution thought that "recountable"
meant auditable, which meant voter-verifiable paper trails. But the national
LWV office decided to spin SARA to say that recountable does not imply
paper. While they could no longer oppose paper outright, they refused to say
that paper was desirable. For example, they held Georgia's system up as a
model, and Georgia uses paperless Diebold DRE machines. It makes you wonder
if the LWVUS leadership is in someone's pocket.

So at the 2006 convention, the LWV membership passed *another* resolution.
This one was much more clearly worded: designed to make it impossible for
the national office to pretend that the LWV was not in favor of
voter-verified paper trails.  Unfortunately, the League of Women Voters has
not issued a press release about this resolution. (There is a press release
by VerifiedVoting.org about it.) I'm sure that the national office simply
doesn't want to acknowledge the membership's position on the issue, and
wishes the issue would just go away quietly. It's a pity; the resolution is
a great one and worth publicizing.

Here's the text of the resolution:

"Resolution Related to Program Requiring a Voter-Verifiable Paper Ballot or
Paper Record with Electronic Voting Machines

"Motion to adopt the following resolution related to program requiring a
voter-verified paper ballot or paper record with electronic voting 


"Whereas: Some LWVs have had difficulty applying the SARA Resolution
(Secure, Accurate, Recountable and Accessible) passed at the last
Convention, and

"Whereas: Paperless electronic voting systems are not inherently secure, can
malfunction, and do not provide a recountable audit trail,

"Therefore be it resolved that:

"The position on the Citizens' Right to Vote be interpreted to affirm that
LWVUS supports only voting systems that are designed so that:

1. they employ a voter-verifiable paper ballot or other paper record, said
paper being the official record of the voter¹s intent; and

2. the voter can verify, either by eye or with the aid of suitable devices
for those who have impaired vision, that the paper ballot/record accurately
reflects his or her intent; and

3. such verification takes place while the voter is still in the process of
voting; and

4. the paper ballot/record is used for audits and recounts; and

5. the vote totals can be verified by an independent hand count of the paper
ballot/record; and

6. routine audits of the paper ballot/record in randomly selected precincts
can be conducted in every election, and the results published 

by the jurisdiction."

By the way, the 2006 LWV membership also voted on a resolution in favor of
net neutrality (the Connecticut league issued a press release, 

because they spearheaded the issue), and one against the death penalty. The
national LWV office hasn't issued a press release about 

those two issues, either.

Verified Voting press release:


Net neutrality press release by the Connecticut LWV:


Q&A with Barbara Simons' rebuttal:

 <http://www.schneier.com/lwv-qa.pdf> http://www.schneier.com/lwv-qa.pdf

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