Save the Ballot Images of Over 11 Million Registered Voters in Florida

Laurel M. Lee, Secretary of State, State of Florida; Director Maria Matthews, Division of Elections, State of Florida

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Save the Ballot Images of Over 11 Million Registered Voters in Florida

Join our Petition to Florida Secretary of State Laurel Lee and Director Maria Matthews to to Save the Ballot Images of Over 11 Million Registered Voters in Florida and demand better for all Floridians!

THE PROBLEM:

When you vote, the voting machine takes a picture of your ballot. This picture is called a ballot image. Your votes are counted from the scanned image of the ballot, not from the paper ballot itself. The scanned ballot image should be saved as evidence of how you actually voted and how your votes were counted.

Federal law (52 USC 20701) and state law (Florida statute 119.011(12) require ALL election records to be saved for 22 months after an election, ballot images included. But shockingly, over half of Florida’s 67 counties are destroying ballot images immediately, including the state’s 8 largest counties. Just those 8 counties account for 55% of all votes in the state! Approximately 35 counties are destroying auditable evidence of election results! This represents over 11 million registered voters in Florida.

THE SOLUTION:

All Florida counties should follow the law and save their scanned ballot images. This will greatly reduce the opportunity for error and fraud. Saving ballot images will reduce cynicism and increase voter confidence in the outcome of the November election!

We are asking Secretary of State Laurel Lee and Director Maria Matthews direct all Florida Supervisors of Elections to preserve scanned digital ballot images in every election as a critical part of the election chain of custody.

A tally of the results shown on the ballot images can be compared to the official results and the images can also be checked against the paper ballots.

Ballot images are a vital part of an evidence-based election.

This will serve to reduce cynicism about Florida elections, increase voter confidence in election results, and ensure that Florida elections are being conducted according to federal and state law.


Works cited and acknowledgements:

Here is the link to all the Supervisors to see who and who is not saving ballot images

Here is the link to the Ron Labasky email. He sent an email out to all SOE's that was misguided and contradicts what the ballot machine manufacturers stated about ballot images.

Here is the link to the manufacturer of the voting machines and their instructions for saving ballot images.

Here is our letter to the Secretary of State

Special acknowledgment of the team that worked on this: Jennifer Tanner, John Brakey, Susan Pynchon, Laurie Woodward Garcia, Ronald Matzner, Arlene Leaf, Mary Lawrence

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#DemandBetterFL #SaveAllBallotImages














Sponsored by
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Fort Lauderdale, FL

To: Laurel M. Lee, Secretary of State, State of Florida; Director Maria Matthews, Division of Elections, State of Florida
From: [Your Name]

Secretary Lee and Director Matthews:

We are petitioning you to request that you direct all Florida Supervisors of Elections to preserve scanned digital ballot images in every election as a critical part of the election chain of custody.

As you know, a digital ballot image is a picture of a paper ballot. Votes are counted from the picture, not from the paper ballot itself. Because the votes are counted from the image, the image becomes an important source document and is part of the chain of custody of the votes. The scanned images are election records that must be retained for 22 months for every federal election according to federal and state law. The ballot images are also public records pursuant to Florida law.

We know that, as attorneys, you appreciate the importance of chain of custody. Ballot images provide evidence as to whether the votes were counted correctly or not. A tally of the results shown on the ballot images can be compared to the official results and the images can also be checked against the paper ballots.

Ballot images are a vital part of an evidence-based election.

We are concerned that uncertainty and confusion have ensued from an email sent by Ron Labasky, current Executive Director of the Supervisors of Elections association (formerly known as the Florida State Association of Supervisors of Elections). In his email dated November 1, 2018, Mr. Labasky misinformed the SOEs that their voting systems do not automatically create ballot images and individual SOEs may choose to create them or not. This is untrue; the images are automatically created. All Florida counties use digital scan voting systems for in-person voting and for vote-by-mail. These digital scanners automatically create ballot images in order to count the vote. Or said differently, the votes can’t be counted if the images aren’t created. This is an irrefutable fact. Mr. Labasky’s email directly contradicts a memo from Election Systems & Software (ES&S), also issued on November 1, 2018. However, this uncertainty has led to only 30 SOEs continuing to save ballot images, while 36 do not. But they must be saved as part of the chain of custody. This is an easy thing to do. The voting system merely has to be set to “save all ballot images,” one of the three available choices shown in the ES&S memo. The three choices are:
Save All Ballot Images
Save Only Ballot Images with write-ins
Do Not Save Any Ballot Images

Please note that we are talking about the original ballot images produced at the time that voters cast their votes or at the time that vote-by-mail ballots are initially counted by the voting machines.

Clear Ballot, a secondary system, re-scans all the ballots cast in a county and creates ballot images that may be used in audits in 2020 and recounts starting in 2021. It is obviously useful. But it does not replace the need to save the original ballot images. For example, in the November 2018 General Election, Broward County had planned to use the Clear Ballot re-scan in place of the state-required post-election audit, but the county claimed it ran out of time and never did complete the Clear Ballot re-scan. Not all counties have purchased the Clear Ballot re-scan system and even if a county purchases it, they are not required to use it.

We know that you want the same thing we do -- impartial, accurate, transparent, trackable, and publicly verified elections. We are anticipating that you, as the top election officials in Florida, will end the confusion about scanned ballot images and direct all SOEs to save all scanned ballot images in the 2020 August Primary and November General elections, and all elections thereafter. This will serve to reduce cynicism about Florida elections, increase voter confidence in election results, and ensure that Florida elections are being conducted according to federal and state law. We are counting on that and counting on you!