Ballot images & more

BALLOT IMAGES produced by the Humboldt County Election Transparency project can be obtained from the Elections Department on DVD.  

These images are also available on a website hosted by the Election Administration Research Center at UC Berkeley

AN OPENSOURCE SOFTWARE PROGRAM FOR COUNTING BALLOTS was created by project volunteer Mitch Trachtenberg.  This tool is able to produce an independant tally to compare with the official results produced by proprietary software.  This tool is available at:


This website is sponsored by Tom Pinto, a project volunteer of the Humboldt County Election Transparency Project (ETP).  I have established this website to share my experiences and knowledge about the development of this project.  There were various hurdles, both technical and political, that had to be overcome to bring this project to fruition.  I hope that citizens in other counties who are concerned about the integrity of our elections will find this website a valuable resource. 

Throughout the history of this project, I have taken a number of photos and videos which visitors are free to use and redistribute. If you would like to reference my work, you may credit these materials as "Courtesy of Tom Pinto - Humboldt County Election Transparency Project" when sharing them. 

what is the humboldt county election transparency project?

The ETP is overseen by officials from the Humboldt County Elections Office, most notably County Clerk and Registar of Voters Carolyn Crnich. However, the "elbow grease" of this project, with a couple of exceptions, is done by volunteers who care about the integrity of our elections.

These volunteers, working on weekends, holidays, and evenings, use a high-end office scanner to scan all of the paper ballots that are cast in an election.  The scanner produces digital images of the ballots.  The ballots are "digitally signed" to mark their authenticity and uploaded to the Internet for distribution.  These images are also available on DVD at the Elections Office.  One notable feature is that each ballot is imprinted with a unique serial number before it is imaged.  Part of the serial number contains information about which box the ballot comes from.  This feature allows us to "tie together" an image on the Internet with the paper ballot. 

The 2008 June 3rd election was the first time that  ballots were scanned and published on the Internet for a Humboldt County election.  Scanning began on June 23rd and took about 5 days.  A set of 3 DVDs containing images of 30,025 voted ballots (around 8.2 GB of data) became available on July 3rd. 

The November Presidential Election was the second time that ballots were scanned and published by the ETP.  During this process, the ETP discovered that 197 ballots were deleted by the Diebold/Premier software used by Humboldt County to tally the vote.  This software glitch resulted in the certification of inaccurate  election results.  More information about this issue can be found in the "News" section of this website.

where can i find the ballots and open source software for counting the ballots?

My website is by no means comprehensive on the topic of the ETP although it probably has more historical background materials than the others.  After visiting this website, I suggest visiting two websites.  The first is the Election Administration Research Center at UC Berkeley where you will find ballot images that were scanned during this project (the same images can also be obtained on DVD from the Elections Office).   The second website belongs to ETP volunteer Mitch Trachtenberg, where you will find an open source software program that automates the counting of these ballot images.  This auditing tool is quite valuable in producing a tally that can be used to compare against the results produced by software that is not subject to inspection by members of the general public. In short, this tool alleviates the need of counting ballots by hand and does so in a transparent manner.

Secretary of state documents regarding  the 'humboldt anomaly'

Tip o' the hat to keith olbermann

It's nice to see that someone in the mainstream media is paying attention.  Olbermann mentions the 'Humboldt Incident' in this clip.