ALTERATION of election records replaces, deletes, or adds information, either to correct the record or to commit fraud. Errors are unintentional, while fraud involves intentional alteration of truth. Both errors and fraud harm voting rights and it may be impossible to determine which is which. Sometimes a small, seemingly insignificant issue may indicate a larger problem. The amount of the alteration is irrelevant to whether it constitutes fraud, nor does it matter whether an alteration would change a result, if the intent is to change the truth.
Alteration is not an appropriate way to correct errors. The proper way to correct an election record is to issue an amended record.
- The original but incorrect information should be retained;
- The error should be disclosed;
- The correction should be witnessed and an amended record issued, along with a written explanation;
- After correction, other election records may become inconsistent with the amended record and may need to be amended as well;
– If the correction results in a material change, an inquiry or investigation may be appropriate.
Fraudulent alteration occurs when an individual alters with intent to to cover up a problem, to circumvent control processes, or to create an untruthful or deceptive record. In elections, this can include altering vote counts or results reports; creating deceptive computer data; exploiting someone else’s identity to create a record in their name; substituting counterfeit seals, or using seals that do not actually seal; crossing out or obliterating information, altering voter lists or participating voter records, or any other improper change.
Altering election records without disclosing the change, even if claimed that the change was needed to correct an error, overrides controls. Overwriting election records, whether or not to correct an error, breaches checks and balances and may violate both election laws and records retention requirements.
ITEMS RELATED TO ALTERED ELECTION RECORDS:
2008/01/07 – New Hampshire election credibility – Video: Demonstration of altering vote results on poll tape to create a fraudulent result; vendor questioned about risk of an employee altering voting system program or results
Accountability: CHAIN OF CUSTODY
Accountability: ELECTION RECORDS
Accountability: Election records: INACCURATE
Accountability: Election Records: POLL TAPES
Accountability: LAWS, RULES