Hey Merc, I guess I can ask you the same questions I asked Jeff and perhaps between the two of you, one of you will answer.
1) Do you believe Tennesseans deserve fair and accurate elections? and
2) Which would you prefer, paperless electronic voting machines that count votes using software that the good folks of Tennessee can't see or monitor, or paper ballots that give the citizens of the state something tangible to oversee, recount, and audit?
Jeff, I have two questions for you. 1) Do you believe Tennesseans deserve fair and accurate elections? and 2) Which would you prefer, paperless electronic voting machines that count votes using software that the good folks of Tennessee can't see or monitor, or paper ballots that give the citizens of the state something tangible to oversee, recount, and audit?
Tennesseans deserve the chance to have fair and accurate elections.
So I have to ask, which would you prefer, paperless electronic voting machines that count votes using secret software that the good folks of Tennessee aren't allowed to even see (let alone monitor), or paper ballots that give the citizens of the state something tangible to oversee, recount, and audit?
The power for accurate elections should be in the hands of the people of Tennessee, and the people of Tennessee want paper ballots. That's why the original legislation to give us paper ballots (plus mandatory random audits and the paper ballot as the ballot of record when recounts are necessary) originally passed almost unanimously in the TN General Assembly - that means that 56 out of a possible 59 Republicans voted for the TN Voter Confidence Act in 2008.
It truly was a bi-partisan effort.
The bill to delay the TN Voter Confidence Act that will most likely be voted on in January of 2010, not only delays the date the Act must be implemented (until 2012) but also guts the mandatory audit procedures.
But audits are important, as The Tennessee Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations (TACIR), who spent over a year studying the vulnerabilities of different voting systems, stated in their comprehensive report, Trust But Verify: Toward Increasing Voter Confidence in Election Results, TACIR: “(Paper ballots) reassure voters that their vote is being counted accurately and can be audited or recounted….. Governmental entities and private corporations are routinely audited regardless of whether problems are suspected. With so much at stake, the same should be true for elections.”
As for the money, it is much less expensive to conduct elections using paper ballots.
Which sounds more expensive to you - having to populate a precinct with 8, 10, 12, 20 paperless electronic touch-screen voting machines (machines that have to be programmed, updated periodically, maintained, stored and transported (maintenance contracts anyone?) or having only one machine per precinct (an optical scan that counts the paper ballots)?
What I find most disturbing about Mr. Holden's editorial is what he leaves out.
Nowhere in his editorial does he mention that the touch screen machines we use now simply do not work. They are broken and as such they cannot be trusted to record the votes of Tennesseans accurately.
Recently we’ve seen an example how these machines malfunction (vote flipping) during the special election last month in Williamson County. And we’ve seen countless other instances of these machines malfunctioning since 2006.
The broken machines even made Newsweek (”Short-circuiting the vote”, November 2008) and the NY Times (”Can you count on voting machines?”, January 2008) and in October 2008, the Brennan Center for Justice, the non-partisan public research and law institute, sent a letter telling the Secretaries of State in 16 states that the machines didn’t work.
Nor does Mr. Holden address the importance of giving Tennesseans secure and accurate elections or how continuing to use these broken touch-screen electronic voting machines inherently diminishes that importance.
The people of Tennessee deserve secure and accurate elections, not broken machines, and any election administrator who refuses to replace these broken machines is failing in his trusted pursuit to give the people of Tennessee true access to the democratic process.
OK, so here’s the deal. The TN Voter Confidence Act is not too wordy (see it in its entirety here: http://www.michie.com/tennessee/lpext.dll/…) and it is also not “very specific."
It certainly does not say that counties must use “only certified equipment that meets the security and reliability standards adopted by the federal Election Assistance Commission in 2005.”
In fact, I can’t find the year 2005 listed anywhere in the Act.
Mr. Hargett and State Election Coordinator Goins spent January to June coming up with excuse after excuse for not implementing the Voter Confidence Act and finally landed on this one to use to send a press release because they believed it was the only excuse that would stick.
Now what will they do?
By Micaela Watts
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