Watchdog group wants audit of election results (AUDIO)

Posted July 6, 2010 5:00 am | Filed under News, State/Regional News
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A watchdog group in South Carolina has filed a complaint in federal court focused on requiring the state to preserve its voting records in federal elections. The Progressive Network is also working to arrange an audit of the entire June 8th primary.

Progressive Network Director Brett Bursey says the results of two federal elections, the one for U.S. Senate and Congressional District 1, were anomalous, meaning that there is a minimal chance that they would have come out that way.

AUDIO: Bursey on voting machines (:59)

But Bursey says when the primary’s votes are audited, he’s not sure what will be found, because the type of voting machine South Carolina has can only be audited for irregularities, and recounts don’t really mean anything.

Bursey says South Carolina is one of only eight states that uses paper-less, touch-screen devices that are not routinely audited. Thirty-three states now require a “voter verified paper ballot” that can be referred to in the event of a recount or audit.

The Verified Voting Foundation released a statement that, whether specific reports of irregularities in that election are confirmed, the most important fact about South Carolina’s voting system is that most ballots cannot be effectively audited or recounted. Bursey says the Progressive Network has been talking about that issue since before the machines were purchased in 2004.

Bursey says the Progressive Network will file another report by July 19 as required to keep the case alive.  Bursey says law states that all federal election results must be preserved for at least 22 months, but he’s not sure how many will have been preserved. 

Burseysays his organization tried to work with the South Carolina Election Commission to find an independent third party to perform an audit, but they have given up on the idea.  Bursey says too many election researchers have already weighed in against using electronic machines. 

Bursey says a worthy vote counting system is essential. He says all big businesses insist on regular audits.

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