Friday, September 08, 2006

Paper Ballots Optical Scanners

The new Federal “Help America Vote Act” requires that New York abandon its currently used lever voting machines.

We can best replace lever machines with paper ballots and optical scanners.

Lower initial cost, lower maintenance costs, quicker voting, more voters per machine, greater reliability, a failsafe paper ballot, and verifiability of election results, all make the preferred choice of Paper Ballots & Optical Scanner very clear. If there is any problem with the scanning machines, the paper ballots have been collected in locked ballot boxes and can be counted again, at any time, by any person who can count and write. A person without any technical expertise can verify the honesty of an election.

In evil contrast, the proposed touch screen machines (Direct Recording Entry or DRE’s) purport to electronically count how many times voters touch an ephemeral image on a touch screen. Such machines have been known to count 100,000 votes in a district with only 19,000 voters. They can fail through errors in programing, or through hard-to-detect deliberate fraudulent manipulation. They can only be repaired or verified by a trained technician.

The current lever voting machine can be set up to cheat, and paper ballot boxes have been stuffed or mis-counted at various times in history, but these are mere retail frauds. With Direct Recording Entry touch screens we can expect wholesale fraud, in which entire national elections can be "fixed" from a corporate headquarters in Venezuela. Ask any computer expert how little he trusts such a Direct Recording Entry system to count anonymous ballots.

The Attorney General should presume that any board of elections,
that bought a Direct Recording Entry (touch-screen) type voting system,
was acting under some improper influence, and promise to investigate accordingly.