[Homestead] Votes with a paper trail
tvoivozd at infionline.net
Sat Sep 25 22:15:19 EDT 2004
Commentary <http://www.csmonitor.com/commentary/index.html> > The
Monitor's View <http://www.csmonitor.com/commentary/monitorView.html>
from the September 24, 2004 edition
E-Voting, With a Paper Trail
Nevada's Sept. 7 primary was the first official election in the US using
touch-screen voting that also produced paper copies of individual votes.
The system, called "Veri-Vote" by the California company that makes it,
was deemed a rousing success.
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Perhaps inadvertently, Nevada's success will help squash much of the
controversy over the reliability of electronic voting machines. Though
states are moving toward e-voting - approximately one-third of voters
are expected to use such digital machines on Nov. 2 - many types of them
still aren't error-free.
Too many show vulnerability to hacking or software glitches. A paper
trail remains the best interim step as states make their glacial efforts
to comply with Congress's 2002 Help America Vote Act (a result of
Florida's ballot snafus in 2000).
The Veri-Vote system creates a paper record under glass that voters can
check against their choices on the screen. The copies eventually drop
into a lockbox, where they can be used later if a manual recount is
needed. Extra printers were available on election day in case of a
For ballot count accuracy, e-voting is better than many paper-based
systems. In fact, some 32 million voters in 19 states still will use the
less reliable punch cards on Nov. 2. And many of those will be used in
states deemed hotly contested.
Florida has adopted paperless e-voting but Broward County - home to the
most hanging chads in 2000 - isn't allowed to attach printers to its
machines yet. In Maryland, a judge ruled that new touch-screen machines
don't need paper records. E-voting machines in Delaware, Tennessee, and
Kentucky also will be paperless.
As obvious as it may sound, the ability to properly record and count all
votes must remain a priority for states. Even with the sad memory of
Florida, too many have simply dragged their feet on this subject for too
long. More should follow Nevada's example.
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