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Institute for Truth Studies

John ellis water

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By Mark Anderson

Amid growing distrust of electronic voting machines, Texas activists who strongly advocate a return to hand-counted paper ballots for all elections have informed AMERICAN FREE PRESS in this exclusive report that they held their first-ever “People’s Hand Count” at Austin City Hall Plaza on Election Day, Nov. 2.

The unique event was described as “a parallel election, using hand-counted paper ballots,” in a news release from the Hand Count Coalition of Austin, whose main spokespersons are activists Vickie Karp and Karen Renick. The demonstration was sponsored by their Vote Rescue group and 13 others across the political spectrum. All are coalition members.

They are centered in Travis County, Texas, one of the most populous counties in the largest of the “Lower 48.” Austin is a vibrant venue to get this election-reform message out to a large population of politically aware students and concerned youth.

“The unofficial paper ballots, marked by citizens and kept in full public view in a transparent ballot box in the plaza, [were] counted by teams of trained volunteers,” the Hand Count Coalition’s press release said. The plan was to use this demonstration to “bring full transparency” to the voting


The hope is that what happens in Travis County will go viral across the country. Karp and Renick have fought hard showing the perils of electronic voting machines—mainly that their internal software is vulnerable to, and perhaps even designed for, manipulation, so a vote can be internally recorded differently than the way the voter cast it.


Respected computer analyst Dr. Dan Wallach of Rice University, who has testified to Texas officials and helped California perform a complete review of voting machines in 2007, says that with the Hart “eSlate” voting machines, for example, “a single corrupted . . . machine, when it’s brought back to the warehouse and connected to the ‘Tally’ system [used for inventory control, etc.] it’s possible to attack and corrupt the Tally system, which can then attack every subsequent eSlate. This is what we call a viral attack, and I cannot overstate the impact. . . . One attacker, corrupting one eSlate, in the current election can arrange for every eSlate to have corrupt software in subsequent elections.”

At the Austin event, two coalition teams counted paper ballots by hand the way the Texas secretary of state recommends. The coalition’s way was tried by three other teams, which worked much better: One person reads each ballot aloud accompanied by an observer, to make sure what is read matches what’s on the ballot. A third person writes down what is read and tallies the votes for each candidate and proposal. Another observer makes sure the writing matches what is read out loud.

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(Issue # 46, November 15, 2010)

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