The Humboldt Election Transparency Project


The data hosted here is from the Election Transparency Project of Humboldt County or ETP. ETP was a first of a kind endeavor established by Kevin Collins, Tom Pinto of the D.A.s office, Green Party Presidential Candidate David Cobb, Parke Bostrom and Carolyn Crnich. Mitch Trachtenberg began working with them in an effort to assess the validity of the automatic vote counting machines produced by Premier[TM]. Formerly called Diebold[TM], Premier[TM] produced ballot counting machines for the Humboldt county that still keep a paper trail. Trachtenberg figured that by demonstrating how paper ballots could be independently counted, [he would] be providing a useful argument for those who were trying to prevent the touch screens from becoming more popular. [He] also thought [he would] be verifying the vendor counts, and putting the vendors on notice that independent counts could be done, limiting any future impulse towards shenanigans. Trachtenberg developed a scanning program that would allow complete anonymity of the ballots; however, the ballots could be posted in an open format for others to conduct a recount if necessary. The program scans the ballots and imprints a serial number on the ballot detailing information about where the ballot was cast. During the scanning, it also tallies the votes. To keep it completely transparent, the program has a delay built in so that a live audience can watch and record their own counts independently. This allows any potential problems in the program's tally to be caught. The count that Trachtenberg conducted along with Carolyn Crnich produced some interesting findings; namely, the Premier[TM] machines didn't count 216 ballots nor did it record that they were missing these ballots. The problem in the Premier[TM] code is that sometimes a whole deck, or group of ballots, can be erased from their archives without warning. This means that election officials can believe that those votes were counted but in reality the machine deleted those votes. It turns out that Premier[TM] knew about these problems with their code but failed to disseminate the information about it properly. Below are the scanned files from this project. They have been made completely open because this kind of transparency allows the most efficient and fair type of elections.

The Data

ASC  ZIP   SIZE
00   00   1.1GB 
01   01   999MB
02   02  1021MB
03   03   983MB
04   04   1.1GB
05   05   1.1GB
06   06   356MB
10   10  1014MB
11   11   1.1GB
12   12   980MB
13   13  1008MB
14   14  1014MB
15   15   981MB
16   16   511MB

Counting software development snapshot
Images of write-in candidates

Additional Information

Democracy Counts: Mitch Trachtenberg's Humboldt Election Transparency
Project Website
- latest news
May 19, 2009 ballot images from one precinct
Humboldt Election Transparency Project Website
- updated through July 2009
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