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California: Humboldt County Announces Transparency Project PDF  | Print |  Email
By Warren Stewart, VoteTrustUSA   
June 01, 2006

Humboldt County, California registrar of voters Carolyn Crnich has approached TrueBallot, Inc. with an unprecedented request: to make publicly available scanned images of all ballots cast in the upcoming June 6, 2006 primary election. The registrar’s interest in the project resulted from a recommendation by her Citizens Advisory Committee on Elections, which works with the county clerk to promote accurate, security and public confidence in elections. The goal of making ballot images publicly available is to allow the public to independently verify official vote totals and to detect any discrepancies that results from machine errors or fraud.


Rob Richie, Executive Director of Fair Vote, The Center for Voting and Democracy commented “…we see this proposal as extremely important, and, indeed, potentially historic”. 

The project promises several significant short- and long-term benefits. In the short-term, the project would establish a new level of transparency for public elections that would allow any member of the public to independently audit the election. It would enable the public to detect any discrepancies between the official totals and the scanned images if errors or fraud occurred. This would boost public confidence in or justify suspicion about the election process. The project would also create a set of data vastly richer than typical precinct-level results. This data would allow researchers and campaign strategists to study voter-level relationships between voting behavior in different races, and it would allow detailed study of voter errors, the usability of the voting system, and the accuracy of the read-heads on the county’s Diebold optical scan voting equipment.

In the long-term, the project could lead to ballot scanning becoming an ongoing part of election administration in Humboldt County, the spread of ballot scanning to other counties and states, and the use of ballot scanning in the original counting of ballots. Crnich hopes the project will have two additional benefits: encouraging teams of programmers to develop open-source software for interpreting scanned ballot images, and boosting the use of open-source software in public election administration.

For more information visit Sample scanned images have been posted at
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