International Endowment for Democracy ���or��￁

Investigating the Accuracy of Elections

National Election Data Archive Project

01 April 2005

Independent Audits and Election Data Monitoring would ensure that correctly elected candidates are sworn into office.

Our goal is to make sure that vote counts accurately reflect voters' choices. A combination of routine independent audits and a National Election Data Archive, would detect virtually all vote count errors that might cause a wrong candidate to be sworn into office:

1. U.S. votes are most often counted electronically, without routine independent audits of accuracy! If every county independently audited its own vote counts, any errors that were distributed over 10% or more of precincts would be detected and corrected. Here is a sample audit procedure proposed in Pennsylvania.

2. A public National Election Data Archive (NEDA) would enable us to detect probable vote count errors immediately following elections. With adequate funding we could build a national election data collection and public distribution system in time to safeguard the November 2006 elections! We need your help to collect detailed election results data.

Detailed election data would permit detection of errors that might be missed by independent audits. If detailed election data is made readily public, then any independent analyst will be able to identify precincts with probable vote count errors and alert us when recounts and investigations seem necessary. Election officials would have public help to monitor election integrity.

Monitoring election results for accuracy requires collecting election data from over 33,000 county and township election offices because no States yet collect the detailed data they need to monitor their own election results! Moreover, counties usually report election results today by first adding together votes that may be wrongly added for one candidate in one vote type with votes that may be wrongly subtracted for a different candidate in another vote type.��thus hiding both problems. (See this example.) This leaves the job to us and luckily we have the legal right to obtain the detailed election data needed to detect vote count errors, under every state's freedom of information act.


People are needed now to implement this data archive project. Staff will use high-speed servers to create and analyze a database of precinct-level, vote-type election results for the entire U.S. All data will be made public. With adequate funding, by November 2006 it we could be reliably warned of probable machine or human-caused vote count errors in time to recount the results and ensure that correctly elected candidates are always sworn into office.


The discrepancies between election results and exit poll results in the 2004 presidential race have not been explained and are consistent with significant vote count errors. Examination of limited election data shows irregular patterns of vote counts in Florida, Ohio, Washington, New Mexico, and other states. We cannot know the full extent of problems until we collect and analyze the data.

On May 15th, our National Election Data Archive Project released a scientific paper, updated September 8th, that disproves the theory that the 2004 presidential exit poll discrepancies were caused by exit poll response rates that varied by party. This discredited hypothesis was proposed by the exit pollsters and used to dismiss the exit polls. This paper follows our earlier scientific paper released on March 31st, and summary on the 2004 election exit poll discrepancies.

It has been officially confirmed (by the exit pollsters themselves) that on election night the final set of exit polls showed John Kerry defeating George Bush by 3% of the popular vote and a clear majority of 316 electoral votes. Our statisticians analyzed Edison/Mitofsky's own explanation of their exit poll discrepancies, and found serious flaws in their argument. Exit polls have been used for years to detect corruption of official vote tallies��most recently in Ukraine.

PROBLEMS WITH VOTING SYSTEMS: U.S. voting systems have been lax for decades, because rarely are routine independent audits of vote count accuracy performed to detect or correct errors. More than 27,000 reports of irregularities in the 2004 election were submitted to the independent "Election Incident Reporting System"; New Mexico had the highest rate of under-votes in the November 2004 election. A General Accounting Office (GAO) investigation was undertaken into the security and accuracy of voting technologies, the distribution and allocation of voting machines, and counting of provisional ballots. The GAO recently reported that electronic voting systems have caused vote miscounts and recommended audits of vote count accuracy in every election, no matter what the margin.

A DO-ABLE SOLUTION: If we obtain the funding in time, we can use the 2004 election data to develop and test the new election monitoring system in time for the November 2006 election.

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