Vote Integrity & Electoral Reform: Approval Voting; Hand-Counted Paper Ballots; Public funding of campaigns and elections; elimination of Straight-ticket voting; binding “None of the Above” option in all races; nationally standardize ballot access.
Why Vote For Bill Stout:
As Travis County Clerk, I will implement, with County Commissioner approval, a voting system that is transparent and verifiable. The integrity of our elections is a non-partisan issue: Every voting citizen must know, and not be told, that their vote has been counted as they cast it at the polling station; and know that their voting intent, as to which candidates they selected, can be recounted.
Now is the perfect time to transition to a hand-counted system: The Travis County Clerk will ask voters to pay for the replacement of the present outdated system of insecure, hackable and paperless computer voting machines. Except this time around there won’t be any Bush Administration Help America Vote Act Federal Funds to help pay for the Multi-million dollar cost for a new proprietary system, which will also continue to cost millions to maintain. It will all come through County taxes or a Bond Issue.
Electronic voting was found to be unconstitutional by the German High Court (Germany’s Supreme Court) in 2009: In their decision the Justices noted, electronic voting machines don’t allow citizens to “reliably examine, when the vote is cast, whether the vote has been recorded in an unadulterated manner”. The German Court reasoned that electronic voting is not verifiable because citizen votes are counted in secret.
German High Court Outlaws Electronic Voting
Using a voter-marked hand-counted paper ballot system will require the training of thousands of citizens to count ballots, and pay them to do so on Election Day. This is a time tested, verifiable & transparent method - the “gold-standard” world-wide - completely open and observable by the public. The involvement of thousands of citizens in our own democracy is a step to increase voter turnout through education and participation, knowing there is integrity in the voting method, by paying people to be involved in the responsibility of engaging in their own government election process. A whole new generation of engaged citizens is needed, which parallels Austin’s need to ramp up participation in the new 10-1 District-represented City Council!
Electronic voting systems have the documented capability of hacking thousands of votes, invisibly and non-detected. A paper ballot fraud scheme would be contained, easily at the Precinct vote count.
Here is the problem with computer voting (taken from Travis County Clerk’s Election Study Group’s Report of Alternate Findings and Recommendations): The most serious problem with the way we vote in Travis County is that our votes are, in fact, being counted in secret – not in some locked back room but, nonetheless, out of sight inside desktop-size electronic devices that run on trademark-protected computer software created and controlled exclusively by a large private corporation. It would make no difference if the counting software were to become “open source” as some envision the solution to the corporate control of election software because it is simply a clever sleight-of-hand and will not alter the basic truth that votes would still be counted out of public view. Some will also argue that it is a vast improvement on the way elections are administered today, when no one is allowed to readily review election software, but even open source will still keep the average voter having to rely on computer experts to assess the security of the software on their behalf. If our votes are counted out of sight, how can we know that the persons (or measures) that are declared the winners have received the true consent of the governed? Instead, we are now made to simply “trust” those who tell us that the reported results are correct. But elections should not be about TRUST or a perception that everything is fine. For the same reasons the structure of our government was established with important checks and balances, elections must be built on implicit DISTRUST. As Benjamin Franklin once said: “Distrust and caution are the parents of security.”
Every important decision and policy choice we face hinges on whether we have an election system that is openly transparent, visually and repeatably verifiable, and secure.
In conclusion, I consistently hear from politicians and academics, If only we had the “Political Will”.....
In order for a society to have the will to make the hard political decisions, that will benefit ALL of society and protect what is left of our democratic republic, open society and the health of our planetary ecological systems currently being tested to their limits that support the human species, we must have an election system that guarantees all people will know their vote was counted using a transparent, verifiable and secure system.
All citizens must know that those politicians we voted for were in fact duly elected.
I will serve Travis County as County Clerk as a leader for Election Reform!
Contact Bill Stout
William Stout for Travis County Clerk
5616 Arroyo Road
Austin, TX. 78734
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