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.


She added that there is a way to check the machines for proper calibration and maintenance as “part of the Logic and Accuracy test.”

Zetter has written about electronic voting issues “since 2003 when the first report came out from computer scientists who obtained source code for the Diebold machines and found numerous security flaws in it,” she told the Index.

When the company's code showed up on the Internet in 2003, researchers at Johns Hopkins University and Rice University examined the code and concluded the voting system was “unsuitable for use in a general election.”

They further asserted, “Any paperless electronic voting system might suffer similar flaws, despite any 'certification' it could have otherwise received. We suggest that the best solutions are voting systems having a 'voter-verifiable audit trail,' where a computerized voting system might print a paper ballot that can be read and verified by the voter.”

“Russ Feingold has been trying since 2003 to pass legislation in Congress that would require all voting machines in the country to produce a paper trail. The legislation has failed for a number of reasons, not just the accessibility issue. Even when the legislation is passed, the National Institutes of Standards and Technology will be tasked with coming up with the best solution for a paper trail, which could take several years,” Zetter said.

“Sadly, in Texas there is no voter-verifiable paper record of the vote,” stated Ellen Theisen, Co-Director of www.VotersUnite.Org, a non-partisan national grassroots elections resource.

Fields said the ES&S; makes a machine with a paper printout that shows voters how they have voted.

Burton maintained that no Texas voting machines provide a Voter-Verified Paper Audit Trail. “Our office has previously examined options that would provide a VVPAT, but we were not satisfied that the options available would preserve the secrecy of the ballot,” she said.

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