Friday, February 24, 2006

I've Heard of Early Voting, But...

Black Box Voting, which studies the problems with electronic voting machines, has been on the case of Palm Beach County, FL, for a long time. After finally getting hold of the voting records from the 2004 election, she found:

The internal logs of at least 40 Sequoia touch-screen voting machines reveal that votes were time and date-stamped as cast two weeks before the election, sometimes in the middle of the night. Black Box Voting successfully sued former Palm Beach County (FL) Supervisor of Elections Theresa LePore to get the audit records for the 2004 presidential election. After investing over $7,000 and waiting nine months for the records, Black Box Voting discovered that the voting machine logs contained approximately 100,000 errors.


In other words, some large number of votes that appear to have been included in the final tally also appear to be completely bogus.

"ATM"-style electronic voting machines are a dangerous solution to the problem of punch cards and chads. Simply put, there is no way to know whether the machines are correctly recording the votes that the voters cast. Even if the machines offer a paper receipt, there is no proof that the the machine's memory actually reflects what is printed on the reciept.

Given dramatic demonstrations in recent years of underhanded behavior surrounding elections, there is only one way to hold a trustworthy vote: with paper ballots that are counted by hand. This is the direction the US must move in.

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