Resolving the Unexpected in Elections: Election Officials’ Options



About This Report

From the Introduction:

This paper is designed to assist election officials in effectively handling the technical irritations that have been difficult to diagnose, allowing them to protect themselves and the public interest from unfair accusations, inaccuracies in results, and conspiracy theories. The paper’s primary goal is to empower officials to recognize which types of voting system events and indicators need a more structured analysis. Its approach seeks to enable officials to evaluate what the next steps should be, and to help them prepare for an inquiry should they decide to schedule it. The authors emphasize that computers can produce incorrect results, because of programming errors, incorrect settings, or insufficient built-in safeguards. No deliberate wrongdoing need occur for computerized voting equipment to fail to perform correctly and no “operator error” need occur—but these are points some fail to grasp when they lodge accusations rather than wait for the truth to come out.