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Citizen Audits Stop Election Fraud

$2,540 of $10,000 goal

Raised by 29 people in 1 month
Created October 13, 2018
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   ·         Did you know that your right to vote is not guaranteed by the US Constitution?


   ·         Did you know that there is evidence of fraud in many American elections?

   ·         Did you know that there is now something that Americans can do to fix this?

                                        ***
                           Verify the Vote: 
                  Fight Election Fraud by
           Supporting Democracy Counts!

     Our Mobile Election Audit Software
       Enables
 Same-Day Election Audits
                                         &
               Voter Suppression Audits


                                         ***
Here is how the system works and how you can help:

                                    ***
- Who we are -

Democracy Counts!, Inc., is a nonprofit, nonpartisan tech startup founded in 2015. Our mission is to bring effective new tools, technologies, and possibilities to Americans working to fix our vulnerable election systems.

Fair elections are the foundation of a democracy: They are citizens' final tool to hold their leaders accountable. Without fair elections, accurately counted, we all lose, in the long term if not in the short. The tools we are developing, therefore, are for all Americans, irrespective of their political coloration.
 
- How you can help! -

You can help us succeed, and help American democracy become great again, with your donations certainly, but also via word-of-mouth. Here is a list of ways to help:

  ·    Make a donation - today if you can - we're finishing up with post-midterms data gathering and starting on our plans for 2020.
  ·    If you know anyone in the media, please ask them to consider doing a story;
  ·    If you know any influencers in politics, government, entertainment or the professions, please share what we are doing with them; we need endorsements and introductions;
  ·    Invite Democracy Counts to give a talk to your civic group; and
  ·    Consider becoming a Citizen Auditor or even joining our team.

- What we need and how we will use your donation -

We need about $50,000 to organize and facilitate citizen audits of elections in three U.S. communities this November 6. We are asking for the support of Americans who understand that it comes down to us.

We are launching campaigns in several places in America this midterm-election year:

  ·    We have been invited to audit the election for Congress in Broward County, Florida, and are working on logistics now. This is the site of the rather famous 2016 matchup between Tim Canova and Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the former DNC chair who was accused of rigging the Democratic primaries. Their contest in 2016 was plagued by ballot irregularities. We will also be auditing the results for Governor and US Senate.

  ·    We are working to set up a voter-suppression-measurement campaign in Alabama, which is famous for passing a law requiring a DMV I.D. card – then shutting down most of its DMV offices in poor, mostly black counties.

  ·    We are weighing where to locate a third audit. We are open to suggestions from you: If you know of a close, high-stakes race, where voting systems are vulnerable, and where activists are likely to want to jump into the fray (and quickly!), please share your knowledge with us – and then help us reach out to the local people who can make it happen.

 
- What Democracy Counts! brings to the table -

We are designing our platform to allow volunteer “citizen auditors” anywhere in the U.S., irrespective of political affiliation, to hold their local election systems accountable. This is potentially revolutionary. There is substantial circumstantial, statistical and anecdotal evidence that close, high-stakes races are often “flipped” by insiders and/or hackers (not Russians, yet). If true this would explain part of the deep disconnect between majority policy preferences as revealed in polls and the policy preferences of our elected officials, as well as some of the polarization between parties.

We must eliminate even the suspicion of election error and fraud. Unfortunately there are only two ways to definitively detect them: Investigate from the inside, or put an independent check on the data from the outside. The former is barred by government secrecy and judicial resistance to grants of legal discovery. This leaves the latter as Americans’ only course of action.

Our election audit system gives Americans that independent check.

Democracy Counts' real-time mobile audit tools empower Americans to verify election results and stimulate transparency in their local voting, counting and reporting processes – which are often obscure and unverifiable.

In addition to verifying vote counts our system contains a powerful new tool for use against voter suppression, including suppression operating under color of law, such as voter I.D. laws that go well beyond reasonable identification requirements. Our audit results will arm attorneys for voting-rights organizations with hard data. They will use this data to

  ·    Challenge elections whose results depended on suppression,
  ·    Reverse the laws through court challenges, hopefully developing case law sufficient to
  ·    Establish the right to vote in the U.S. Constitution (which does not mention or protect voting).


- Democracy Counts’ longer-term goals -

Our 2020 goal is truly audacious: To organize audits in every battleground state in order to deter or expose any errors that might lead to an illegitimate result in the presidential and Congressional elections. Our success this November will give us the credibility and traction we need to start organizing these audits.

Our long-term goal is to make citizen audits so commonplace and ubiquitous that all legislatures -- even the foot-draggers -- will institute reforms guaranteeing transparency and verifiability. Possible reforms include paper ballots with counting overseen by alert citizens, independent risk-limiting audits, open-source computer code, etc. At that point our citizen audits would become unnecessary, except perhaps as spot-checks.

If this campaign exceeds its goal the additional funds will be used to continue development of our audit platform and to lay the groundwork for the 2020 audits in the battleground states.


- A final note -

This is an ambitious multi-pronged approach. It is a lot of work to implement, for us and for citizen auditors around the country. But if not us, who? And if not now, when? And isn’t it worth the work to work to save our country’s democratic system?

We certainly think it is. And we hope that you think so too.


- The Democracy Counts team -

Daniel Wolf (founder, CEO), Anne Wayman, (administrator), Pulkit K. Agrawal (advisor), Melissa Schwartz (software design, social media outreach), Eric Hillis (database design), Jacob Acosta (front-end developer), Chad Baker (full-stack developer), Michael Nelson (accounting, financial planning), Steve Padgett (software engineer).

For more information on them see their bios at www.democracycounts.org


- Contact us -

For more information visit our website at www.democracycounts.org.


     This concludes this commercial announcement. :~)


                                                       ***

What follows is a deeper dive into the details of the audit system . . . .



- What is our same-day election audit system and how does it work? -

It is a set of secure auditing tools that allow citizen auditors to collect data in apps on their smartphones and tablets. These tools:

  ·    Count the votes in parallel with official polling places
  ·    Preserve polling place and other official data
  ·    Quantify voter suppression, and
  ·    Track reports of illegal political behaviors

On election night our analytics teams compare official results against our data. Discrepancies are flagged for closer review. Evidence pointing to serious error or fraud is then provided to lawyers for candidates and civic organizations who may have been injured by the errors. They then have the evidence with which to challenge the elections in court and to demand investigations into the causes of the discrepancies.

This table explains the three core features:
33714712_1539550217618494_r.jpeg
- The importance of these real-time election-audit tools -

Election integrity activists have been hamstrung when attempting to probe suspected election fraud. Courts have required that they provide direct evidence of fraud before they will allow legal discovery into the actions that officials took that led to the suspicious election outcomes.

Because any evidence of possible fraud is hidden within the official systems, this requirement sets up a Catch-22: Show me what you can’t obtain and then I’ll let you look for it.

Similarly, when challenging voter suppression, federal courts have insisted that a very large number of suppressed voters come forward as plaintiffs, and that they show that the cumulative effects of being denied their right to vote was sufficient to affect the elections they were prevented from voting in.

The only evidence lawyers can show, however, is not direct and irrefutable. Instead it is anecdotal, statistical and speculative, not to mention too late to stop the certification of any questionable elections. The result? They can’t get real legal traction attacking voter suppression laws.

Data produced by citizens using our audit tools give attorneys the evidence they need to break the Catch-22, so they can   

  ·    Clearly document vote-counting discrepancies that officials must explain
  ·    Demand law enforcement investigations when explanations are inadequate
  ·    Show clear Constitutional injury to large numbers of suppressed voters
  ·    Show that the votes of those injured voters might have changed outcomes had they been permitted to vote

These are important new abilities. They empower regular citizens to independently gather the data needed to push election cleanup forward. And they may be the key to the success of the New Voting Rights Movement.


- Who can conduct a citizen election audit? -

Anyone, anywhere, anytime - irrespective of political orientation - can use these tools. If you can organize a birthday party or a pickup football game you have the ability to build an audit team to hold your polling place accountable.

Using our tools, as a Citizen Auditor you can expose election errors and fraud in time to challenge an election in court before the vote is certified, so a full investigation can be performed before an incorrect winner can be declared.

If your local system is free of error or fraud, then your audit will legitimize it and help keep it clean.


- Our Future Plans -

By publicly establishing what is, with solid, non-speculative data resulting in thorough investigations, our system will empower the new voting rights movement to push back against the efforts of political machines to deprive Americans of the right to choose their leaders and their governments. Enough repeated lawsuits over a period of years will generate pro-voter case law and provoke legislative reforms improving election integrity.

And Democracy Counts will not stop at helping Americans secure the vote. We will make the software available to election integrity activists worldwide and help establish an International Federation of Election Auditors to assist and protect Citizen Auditors, who can face life-threatening consequences doing this work.


- A few FAQs -

A small number of people have hotly criticized our audit system. These are their most serious arguments.

* “You’ll never get the level of voter participation you need to make your parallel vote function work.”

Luckily we have evidence to the contrary:

  ·    When we ran a pilot of the parallel vote function in three California cities in June, 2016, well more than 90 percent of voters participated - and that was with no signage or prior voter education.

  ·    With time and familiarity, and continuing voter concern about proper counting, it will become increasingly easy to obtain these high levels of participation. After all, most voters invest hours in deciding how to vote; providing insurance  against wasting their vote is something they appreciate.  

  ·    The data preservation function does not require voter participation, and the voter suppression function does not suffer the deadline pressure of the parallel vote function.
 
* "Exit polls don’t work as evidence in court because they can be attacked as subject to response bias”.

Though that is true about exit polling, we are not doing exit polling. (“It looks like a duck but it doesn’t quack like a duck.”)

  ·    The “sample size” of our parallel vote comes close to the actual number of voters. This means we are not extrapolating from a small sample in order to estimate the true count. We are instead determining what the minimum count must be for each candidate in each race examined. This means that there is none of the response bias that is believed to plague exit polls. This qualifies it in court as direct and probative evidence.

* "If an election can be hacked then so can your system, so you're not helping." 

The problem with most commercial election software is that it’s been engineered for convenience, not for security - some machines run on obsolete, unsupported operating systems. Likely few provide security against inside hacks; some have almost certainly been engineered to allow inside hacks.

  ·    Our software for the audits this year use an SSL 256 socket layer (the software used for internet financial transactions). Future versions will use the NSA’s most secure hacking algorithm. To further prevent intrusion and alteration of data, including by insiders, we deploy multiple methods to make any intrusions and changes visible so they can be quarantined. Furthermore, unlike commercial voting software companies, we are making our code completely transparent and verifiable.

 ----Here is how Melissa Schwartz, our principal software designer, described our next-gen software, which is in development for 2020:

  ·    “We also have elaborate security measures in place to prevent all kinds of potential nefarious activity including authenticated check-ins for auditors, automated check-outs for auditors that leave their geo-located polling station areas and multi-factor authenticated and tracked voter amendment records.”

  ·    “Privacy and security are essential to the success and overall safety of this system. All of our data is encrypted, fortified with incremental snapshots and stored redundantly. Sensitive vote records have no database keys to any corresponding individual’s identifying information.”

 Please visit the FAQ pages of democracycounts.org (under the “Election Audits” tab) to see more FAQs.

33714712_1539585116373818_r.jpeg

Appendix

Melissa Schwartz designed the architecture and engineering of the software platform that we'll deploy in 2020. In her crowdfunding campaign of this last summer this is how she described in her words what we are doing.  

 
"Do you trust election results?

Whether you believe election fraud is taking place in our country or not, the problem is, if official vote totals are incorrect for whatever reason - we have no way of knowing.

This is a profound problem. Elections determine who controls our government and one of the most powerful militaries in the world and they determine who controls our economy, our healthcare system and the regulatory bodies that were incepted to protect people, animals and the environment. Because there is so much at stake, there is undeniable incentive for fraud and manipulation.

We need to have multiple, independent, nation-wide checks in place for safeguarding something as important as the legitimacy of our electoral process and it is unfathomable that in 2018 - we don’t even have one.

It stands to reason that corporations and the very small number of individuals benefitting from political corruption at the expense of everyone else, do not want to safeguard election integrity and the uncomfortable truth is that if powerful private interests wanted real checks and balances on elections, they would already be in place.

Political corruption in this country will only continue to worsen unless someone does something about it. Let’s be that someone. Let’s put our resources together and institute effective, independent, citizen organized election integrity protocols by ourselves.

Election integrity non-profit Democracy Counts is building a cross platform mobile app that allows regular people like you and me to conduct polling station audits using only our mobile phones. Our system empowers citizens to organize their own audit teams and facilitates the collection of election data that has the ability to hold up as evidence in court if large vote-count discrepancies are uncovered during any given election.

We believe our system should be used in every future election in the US.

Organizing support for an endeavor as monumental as ours requires tremendous public involvement and investment. Our first step for facilitating the adoption of widespread, independent, citizen-organized audits is to prove our system’s utility by successfully auditing one very important key election.

Right now, that election is the race between Tim Canova and DWS for the 23rd congressional district of Florida.

An exit-vote audit is like an exit poll but, whereas exit polling gathers information from just a sampling of voters, an exit-vote audit is more like a parallel election where information is gathered from as close to 100% of voters as possible.

Though we attempt to get 100% of voters at any given station, we know chances are good that we won’t because not everyone is going to feel comfortable participating in the audit. We do get a floor of votes this way, however. For example, if the official count at a certain station for a specific candidate is 60 votes but our data shows 90 votes, we know something has gone wrong there, because we should show fewer votes for that candidate, not more.

Exit-vote audits don’t rely on statistical extrapolation and probabilities like exit polls do. The reason exit polling data doesn’t hold up well in court is because probabilities - even very polarized probabilities - are hard to accept as evidence. In essence, this is because even if there is a very small or great chance for something, there is still that chance, and a probability is not actual data.

However, exit-vote audit results are actual data. These results can be considered evidence that will hold up in court in situations where exit-poll data would not.

We also have ranked-choice voting to gather data useful in identifying fear-based voting, and other questions for voters in our app that target potential causes of voter suppression and disenfranchisement.

Part of the audit process involves voters digitally signing an affidavit and in the event that official data is vastly different from our data, voters can be called into court and sworn in to testify that they did indeed vote the same way in our audit that they did in the election; they never disclose who they voted for. Although this has never been done before, we have painstakingly developed protocols that will preserve the legal viability of the data we collect from start to finish of the audit process.

For this first audit, we are going to be manually staffing the polling stations in this one district, but the app is also built with functionality for allowing potential auditors to find the closest or otherwise most ideal polling station to volunteer at and communicate with other members of their team.

We also have elaborate security measures in place to prevent all kinds of potential nefarious activity including authenticated check-ins for auditors, automated check-outs for auditors that leave their geo-located polling station areas and multi-factor authenticated and tracked voter amendment records.

Privacy and security are essential to the success and overall safety of this system. All of our data is encrypted, fortified with incremental snapshots and stored redundantly. Sensitive vote records have no database keys to any corresponding individual’s identifying information.

This version does not run on blockchain but future iterations will.

You can see her campaign at https://www.gofundme.com/democracy-counts-exit-audit.

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+ Read More
Friends,

This is an exhaustive and educational article about the Florida election maelstrom. Yours truly is quoted about halfway down.

Best regards,

Dan

https://truthout.org/articles/11000-votes-may-be-missing-in-florida-congressional-race/
+ Read More
Donations are great, no doubt. And there are other ways to support Democracy Counts! For example, some have referred their friends and other contacts to us, others have introduced us to journalists and other influences.

In other words, you are limited only by your imagination in how you can support our same-day election audits, preservation of polling data, and exposing voter suppression.
+ Read More
A headline and podcast about Democracy Counts!
New independent organization analyzing vote in Broward’s CD-23 an article PLUS an interview with Dan - today, 11-10 - 2018:

https://thefloridasqueeze.com/2018/11/10/new-independent-organization-analyzing-vote-in-browards-cd-23/

(Just copy this link into your browser.)
+ Read More
****** UPDATE: 11-10-2018 *******

Dan is still in Broward directing the final collection and organizing of the evidence for a potential legal challenge by Tim Canova. It’s unclear exactly when he’ll be back - probably after the evidence package is finished and ready for presentation to the court. Best guess? Middle of next week.

Dan has already been interviewed by Univision and The Florida Squeeze, a web-based political news organization, and also spoke on a talk show. Our continued work may help blow the lid on how this particular political machine works.

We need your help to finish the work in Broward County.. Please, dig deep and donate today.

Thanks for helping restore the people’s voice.
+ Read More
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Created October 13, 2018
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