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A clear and fair process for hand-counting ballots

Thank you for the article “Trump, Putin, and the hacking of an American election” (Tech Lab, July 27) by Hiawatha Bray.

The gold standard for counting votes is to hand-count paper ballots and to do so twice. Here is some more of what is needed: to have precincts with no more than one thousand registered voters; to have observers watching and to live-stream the counting; to have all parties on the ballot be counters and observers; to pay them $15 per hour — for doing one of the most, if not the most, important job in our society. Our right to vote and to have our votes counted as cast is the right that all our other rights rest on.

On Nov. 6, 2007, I observed Acton, Maine, count its votes in real time in the general election. With seven races and two initiatives, six teams of two people each hand-counted twice 944 ballots in four hours. So it can be done.


Counting should occur at each precinct immediately after polls close and be recorded and archived. Results should be posted at each precinct, immediately after the counting. Chain of custody of the ballots and ballot boxes should be specified. Ballot boxes should be observed 24/7 and a video record created as boxes are opened and closed and moved from place to place.

Electronic voting machines are not involved in this process in any way. Nor is there any connection to the Internet at any time.

Sheila Parks