Long an 'exporter of democracy' to the rest of the world, there is ample evidence that the United States lacks even the most rudimentary, basic protections necessary to preserve voting integrity within its own borders.
Some of the evidence is circumstantial, some is statistical, and some is pretty direct and clear-cut. Taken together, a pattern that emerges strongly suggesting that ever since electronic voting machines were introduced in the United States, we’ve had a string of suspect election results that frankly are not consistent with a free and fair voting outcome.
Trust is different than 'verifiable'. Trust, frankly, has no place in elections. There is no reason to ever trust anybody. We need to be able to verify all of this.
There are basically two different types of electronic voting systems that are currently used today.
One is the touchscreen system that people know about. They’ve seen those votes flipping and so forth. Those machines are, in fact, 100 percent unverifiable -- period. I’ve asked the companies that make the systems many times, if they have any evidence whatsoever that any vote ever cast on one of those machines during an election, for any candidate or initiative on the ballot, if any of those votes have ever been recorded as per the voter’s intent, any evidence whatsoever. They have none -- they are 100 percent unverifiable. Thankfully, many states are getting rid of those and they’re moving to paper ballots.
The problem, however, with hand marked paper ballots is that most of them are run through optical scan computers to be scanned. The problem is, they often don’t work. You can’t tell whether they have worked properly, whether they have accurately recorded the vote, unless you actually hand count the paper ballots -- begging the question of why the hell are we using these optical scan systems in the first place. So when you have a paper ballot, at least it is verifiable if anybody bothers to do a hand count. But we don’t bother to do so in this country; almost never. When problems are found, often they are completely ignored.
So that’s why I’ve argued for years now that the most transparent and reliable way to run an election is to hand count the paper ballots at the precinct on election night publicly in front of everyone with the results posted at the precinct before those ballots are moved anywhere.
Short of that, it really is faith-based elections. We're trusting that they’re recorded accurately, even though we’ve got so much evidence that they often are not. I think it’s a crazy way to run a democracy if you ask me(...)
There is every reason to be suspicious of every election. There's a lot of money at stake, a lot of money, a lot of power at stake in these elections and so people should be suspicious about them.
No matter what you do, people will try to game elections. There's just too much at stake for people to not want to try to do that. That’s why you need a system that is as transparent as possible because people are going to try to game it. The trick is you have as many eyeballs looking as possible to make it as difficult as possible to game the election. That’s the trick; and when you begin to use security by obscurity and hide the way that votes are actually counted and the way that votes are actually cast and the systems that are used to tally them, we have no idea in the end.
I think that’s just absolutely crazy. Every time I come out and make that argument, it depends what election has just happened, but I'm then branded either a Democratic partisan, a Republican partisan, a Bernie supporter, a Hillary supporter -- whatever it is. People don’t like to hear these facts. So I’ve had to go to bat for a lot of candidates who I would have never ever even considered voting for. But I think that their supporters have the right to know whether they won or lost, and have the right to know that the election was tabulated accurately. That’s what we no longer have in this country and it’s ridiculous.
Click the play button below to listen to Chris' interview with Brad Friedman (53m:45s)