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.

(Continued)



“Other states, however, have not needed a federal law to pass their own legislation requiring a paper trail in the meantime,” asserted Zetter. “There's really no good reason for counties not to have machines that produce a paper trail.”

Questions linger

For several years many have expressed concerns over HAVA-compliant DRE voting machines. Among the concerns are the DRE's lack of a tangible record, the possibility for tampering and overall security.

A February 2004 article in “Information Week” posed that, “A paper ballot … is a tangible physical object which can be indelibly marked. A computer byte, however, can be easily altered with no trace of its original marking.”

In June 2006, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. told “Rolling Stone” Magazine that he wondered how 2004 election exit polls, predicting an overwhelming victory for John Kerry, “had gotten it so wrong. By midnight, the official tallies showed a decisive lead for George Bush - and the next day, lacking enough legal evidence to contest the results, Kerry conceded.”

In his interview, Kennedy cited specific concerns about DREs used during the 2004 general election.

“In New Mexico, which was decided by 5,988 votes, malfunctioning machines mysteriously failed to properly register a presidential vote on more than 20,000 ballots. Nationwide, according to the federal commission charged with implementing election reforms, as many as 1 million ballots were spoiled by faulty voting equipment - roughly one for every 100 cast.”

“Why should the most important events in our democratic life (elections) be the subject of such benign neglect and lack of any interest in their security?” queried authors of one study on election irregularity during the 2004 general election in Snohomish County, Wash.

In the study, attorney Paul R. Lehto and Dr. Jeffrey Hoffman compared the county's parallel voting technologies - touch-screen voting machines used on election day to optically scanned paper ballots used for absentee and provisional voting.

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