Black Box Voting, founded in 2004, is a nonpartisan, nonprofit investigative reporting and public education organization for elections.


Election Protection Tools: How to provide public testimony

By | Election Protection Tools | No Comments

OPPORTUNITIES TO OFFER PUBLIC TESTIMONY: – Informal opinion/information-gathering sessions (briefings) – Formal hearings held by public officials PURPOSE OF PUBLIC POLICY BRIEFINGS AND HEARINGS: – To allow the public to participate in government decisions. – To help public officials gather facts, hear arguments, and make decisions in the public interest. – To help a public official demonstrate to colleagues that there is a widespread support for a policy. TYPES OF TESTIMONY: – Testimony can be written, oral, or both. How to prepare written testimony: 1. Make it succinct. 2. Identify…

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Election Protection Tools: Voter Lists – Mobile app

By | Election Protection Tools, Transparency, Voter List | No Comments

WHEN: Several months before the election;  HOW: To improve the list of who can vote, create and publicize a mobile phone app to let everyone easily check the accuracy of voter registration information. This election protection tool was used successfully in Pakistan, by activating an SMS mobile phone text-messaging system available to everyone with access to a mobile phone. It helped correct voter list errors and guide voters on where to vote. Out of 85 million registered voters, the mobile app got 55 million hits; voter turnout increased, and marginalized groups like persons with…

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2015 May 21: Black Box Voting book found on Osama bin Laden’s bookshelf

By | Corruption | No Comments

Yesterday as I was driving to work with a morning cappuccino in hand, the phone rang. “What do you think about your book being on Osama bin Laden’s bookshelf?” a reporter inquired. Bizarre. Odd. Stunning. What does one say about something so unexpected? “Well the Black Box Voting book has made its way to a lot of unusual places,” I said. And it has: In 2004, I got a call from Washington D.C. telling me to overnight the book. At that time I didn’t even have an organization, and I…

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(US-CA) How to increase voter list accuracy and transparency in California

By | CALIFORNIA, Transparency, Voter List | No Comments

Black Box Voting remarks submitted for California 3/11/14 meeting on Senate Select Committee on Science, Innovation and Public Policy To: Senator Padilla From: Black Box Voting Submitted March 11, 2014 I am the director of Black Box Voting, a national, nonprofit, nonpartisan election transparency organization. I respectfully submit the following remarks for the meeting of the Senate Select Committee on Science, Innovation and Public Policy on March 11, 2014, regarding technology and elections. I will focus my remarks on one very specific solution I discovered through my research on international…

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City of Cumming, Georgia joins municipality-based attack on Freedom of Information rights

By | GEORGIA, Transparency | No Comments

[Last updated 03/02/14] In April, 2012 the city of Cumming, Georgia blocked a citizen journalist from videotaping open meetings; in Dec. 2013, nearly two years later, the matter was still under mediation. Open meetings around the USA are frequently not only videotaped, but aired on public access TV. Videotaping is a crucial part of freedom of information because it captures an objective, durable record. If the city of Cumming were to prevail in its anti-freedom of information lawsuit, it would set the stage for all municipalities in Georgia to refuse…

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(US-GA) Software Slows Vote Counting

By | Ballot Privacy, GEORGIA, Transparency | No Comments

[Last updated 02/28/2014; Original article 10/14/2005] According to a report by the Associated Press1 which raises more questions than it answers, new software was incorporated into Georgia’s Diebold touch-screen voting system in Spring 2005, slowing down the count for as much as 24 hours. The AP reports: Ballot-counting in next month’s Georgia elections may be slowed by security software, some local officials say. The problem involves software given to Georgia by Diebold Elections Systems of Ohio, which has a $54 million contract to supply the state with touch-screen voting machines….

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Pakistan: Simple innovations improve voter list accuracy, turnout, and reduce fraud

By | PAKISTAN, Transparency, Voter List | No Comments

An award-winning voting rights innovation improved voter lists in Pakistan, where an SMS mobile phone text-messaging system got voters to interact with voter lists to correct errors and see where to vote. Out of 85 million registered voters, the SMS system got 55 million hits; voter turnout increased, and marginalized groups like persons with disabilities measurably increased election engagement. In addition, public voter list display at over 50,000 neighborhood locations helped resolve problems on the spot and aided in detection of systemically disenfranchised groups. Voter list display engaged everyone in…

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(US-WV) How 3 changes will affect election transparency

By | Ballot Privacy, Transparency | No Comments

Buried in an article about filing deadlines1 we find three hints for what’s to come in 2014 for West Virginia: 1) Taking a step back from transparent vote counts, removing paper ballot options; 2) Increasing use of combined vote centers, which reduce ballot privacy; 3) Increasing use of electronic poll books in place of physical poll books. “Paper ballots will no longer be an option,” says Mike Goode, county clerk for West Virginia’s Wyoming County. According to the Wyoming County Report, Goode says “We’re one of the last counties to…

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(US-AK) – Election Observation: Concerns about potential procedural changes for Anchorage elections

By | ALASKA, Transparency | No Comments

Letter of concern pertaining to three potential procedural changes pending for Anchorage, the electoral region which dominates the state of Alaska, and controls most of Alaska’s vote-counting equipment. (Result: Right to observe and use mobile devices was preserved after proposed rollback of rights.) Black Box Voting is a nonprofit, nonpartisan public education and research organization for election transparency. From: Bev Harris, Executive Director, Black Box Voting: I would like to address three areas of concern for election policy in the municipality of Anchorage: Right to observe pre-and post-election processes; right…

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(US-UT) Voter Lists: Legislation proposes to ban public transparency for voter lists

By | Money, Transparency | No Comments

An important news item by in the Salt Lake Tribune reports on Utah State Sen. Karen Mayne’s attempt to stop publication of voter information. The reporter should have covered both sides of the issue, because the proposed legislation removes a crucial transparency component for Utah elections. The article, titled “Bill aims to stop publication of voter information”,1 reports that: – State Sen. Karen Mayne is sponsoring legislation that would limit access to the voter registration database, which can be purchased for $1,050 from the lieutenant governor’s office; – Mayne’s legislation,…

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