Mineral Wells Index, Mineral Wells, TX

Local News

November 3, 2008

Electronic voting is a touchy issue

Voting officials must decide what to do when voters report problems casting ballots on touch-screen voting machines.

By Libby Cluett

lcluett@mineralwellsindex.com

Even before early voting began, Homer Simpson foreshadowed problems with electronic touch-screen voting machines.

“Voting Machines Are Flipping Votes Just Like The Simpsons Predicted,” an article posted on www.collegeotr.com, citing a clip of a “The Simpsons” episode, leaked online earlier in the month, that shows Homer Simpson trying to vote for Democratic candidate Barack Obama.

Every time he touches the “Obama” button on what he calls the “electronic voting dealie,” it registers votes for Republican candidate John McCain. His frustration grows as he tells the machine “time for a change,” and mashes the Obama button harder. The voting machine then sucks him inside, as Homer yells, “Hey this machine is rigged … This doesn't happen in America, maybe Ohio, but not in America.”

If electronic vote switching doesn't happen in America, why are there so many reports of it, including two in Palo Pinto County?

Two Palo Pinto County residents reported touch-screen voting machine irregularities last week were added to a growing discussion around the county, state, nation and world on the topic of vote flipping or switching.

Should voters be concerned about the veracity of electronic voting technology that has no paper trail?

Do voters HAVA say?

Texans cast their votes by one of three methods – paper ballot, an optical scan system or Direct Record Electronic system. The Secretary of State approved three DRE machines – the Hart eSlate, Election Systems & Software iVotronic and Premier's Accu-Vote TS R6.

The DRE machines are intended to help counties comply with the 2002 Help America Vote Act. The federal act, also called HAVA, established a program to provide funds to states to replace punch card voting systems with improved voting equipment and to provide election standards as well as training for poll workers and election officials across the country.

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