Several elections in Alaska are yet to be determined. There is a lot of work to be done. Gryphen wrote yesterday about some of the things you can do to help count ALL THE VOTES.
Voting issues expert Brad Friedman of Brad Blog, wrote yesterday, concerning the tight Minnesota and Alaska vote counts:
But counting ballots can have only limited meaning without proper reconciliation of the entire election, including unvoted as well as voted ballots, and other materials that need to be examined to ensure a clean accounting of votes.
To that end, I have passed on the following recommendations to some of those concerned Democrats in Alaska, and hope that folks in Minnesota, where oversight and full reconciliation of the Coleman/Franken recount are similarly important, will also take note. These recommendations are for Democrats, Republicans, and/or citizens of any party or none at all who wish to ensure that the will of the voters in both states is accurately accounted for. (As to the U.S. Senate race in Georgia, where they use 100% unverifiable, fully faith-based, touch-screen voting machines, there's much less that anyone can do about it, but perhaps I'll make recommendations there, for their upcoming runoff next month, at another time.)
These are among the immediate actions required in order to ensure that citizens can have confidence that the election results, whatever they may turn out to be, in both AK and MN are accurately counted and fully reconciled as per the voters' intent:
All memory cards and hard drives from all optical-scan machines and tabulators must be immediately impounded and securely retained for the 22-month period required by federal law in case there is any need to examine them for any reason. Simply retaining the paper ballots used in both races will not do. If necessary, a court order mandating the secure sequestration of that material should be sought immediately, since many jurisdictions seem to feel that memory cards, etc., can be erased and re-used before the 22 month statutory federal period, requiring retention of all election materials, is over.
Public records requests must be made from all counties (in Alaska, they're lucky, since all 14 election divisions are run out of a single election headquarters in Anchorage) for invoices of the number of paper ballots ordered, printed, and delivered.
Any hand count of the ballots in the election must include full, transparent accounting for voted ballots, spoiled ballots, and unvoted ballots. The total numbers of each should equal exactly the number of ballots shown as having been printed on the invoices and delivery records from the printers. Those are fully public records and should be made available to all.
Public records requests must be made for copies of all poll books/registers signed by voters on Election Day and during early voting, so the number of voted ballots can be properly reconciled.
All iterations of all computer tabulator database files --- from before early voting began, up until certification of the results --- need to be fully released to all political parties and the public so they can oversee how voters voted, review audit logs of what actions were taken (and when) on those computers, and possibly determine if Diebold's GEMS central tabulator may have dropped votes, as regularly occurs on their system, as per their recent admission. (The Diebold GEMS central tabulator is used in several large counties in MN, and for the entire state of AK...It's also used for the entire state of GA for that matter, where there are no paper ballots to double check any of the reported results.)
Further public records requests must be made for signed, secure chain-of-custody logs for all ballots from the time they arrived from the printer through today, as well as for Election Day poll-tapes (including "Zero Test" tapes from before polls opened, and results tapes from after polls closed), all voting equipment, memory cards, etc. All of this information should be made publicly available immediately for examination by all interested parties and citizens.
The above advice is meant for all parties and/or all citizens who wish to ensure the elections in question in AK and MN are counted accurately, but the same list is likely useful for almost any election in these United States, in general. At least those where paper ballots are actually available to be counted by human beings. If any of the parties or candidates need more details, feel free to let me know. I'm pretty easy to find.