I want to tell you a story.
It's the summer of 2013. I'm casually looking at some data for an upcoming by-election. I notice one of the candidates names. A friend I had years ago in University. I call them up and ask him if he's the same guy that I knew, he said yes! He happened to be running for a party I generally support, so, I offered to help him campaign. One thing I wanted to do, was to Scrutineer.
He said yes, and so on E-day, I got to go into a big room with the vote counters. I decided to Scrutineer the largest of the advance polls.
And so there I was. Looking at a stack of papers on a table. Beside me was the guy in charge of the box, and across the table from him, the guy who would physically count it. Around the table was me, for the Green Party, a guy for the NDP, a guy for the Liberals, and a guy for the Conservatives.
And we watched.
I saw every single ballot. That was, after all, the point. Before any of them could "count", we all could say something/veto. At one point, a ballot popped up where the X was so long it crossed a line between the PC candidate, and the Green candidate. As it passed by the Liberal was like "Whoa" seeing something off, and the count stopped. We all looked at the ballot. The Liberal looked about to speak but the Conservative said "Looks like a PC vote to me". the NDPer didn't say anything. the Liberal kinda scrunched his face and looked about to agree. I pointed and said "The X crosses in the PC box, its clear enough to be the intention of the voter was to vote PC" And the Liberal nodded, and then count went on with that vote counted as a PC vote.
We got done quite quickly. Our counter was very good at what he does, and counted faster than I thought possible. Not, however, too fast for me to keep up.
After the stack was done, we all agreed on the count, and the ballots in whole were counted a 2nd time just to be 100% sure the numbers all batched up. They didn't, we were all confused. So we went through it again and found one had become folded. We unfolded it, and counted again, and now everything matched perfectly. The counter announced the results to us and asked if we all agreed. The guy in charge of the box said he did. I said I did. The Liberal said he did. The Conservative said he did. and the NDPer said he did, and put out his hand to shake the Liberals hand. We then all shook hands, and that was that.
After that I went for drinks with the Candidate, his future wife, and his campaign manager.
It's a fundamental part of our Canadian Democracy that someone from every party, representing every independent, has a fundamental right to physically see each and every ballot.
This is not how things are done in the USA.
I don't really understand how or why, but, apparently, so long as the parties have observers in the room, that's good enough. I've yet to see any occasion (where they show counting on TV) where anyone, except the ballot counter, can physically see the ballot being counted.
It baffles me that a country can run its democracy like this, but, apparently this is how it is done.
I don't agree with Trump on much of anything, but, when he says that Republican Party observers should be able to see the ballots, he is right. The US needs to adopt the Scrutineer system. The fact they do not already have it, is shameful.