The problem is that these systems allow such a mistake to happen, if it was a mistake.
We saw voting machines lose 4,400 votes in Carteret County NC in Nov 2004, which affected the outcome of a statewide election. Those votes could not be retrieved because there were no paper ballots.
And again, that loss was blamed on human error - the humans who designed the software.
The proprietary voting vendors create voting systems with little or no checks and balances, and they also allow humans to do things they shouldn't - like leaving old or wrong election data in the poll books.
Trust, yet verify. and remember to have something TO verify.
Tennessee is heading towards an election meltdown in Nov.
SOS Hargett has found a machine that meets 2005 VVSG, even though many do not interpret the law to require that. GOOD then, now even the SOS admits there's no excuse not to implement it.
Unless SOS Hargett gets the machines properly implemented and pronto, then
"A perfect storm is brewing for Tennessee voters for the 2010 election."
Tennessee is set up for an election debacle, thanks to the states’ reliance on paperless electronic voting. Currently 93 out of 95 counties in Tennessee use these machines.
Tennessee already has warning signs of an election meltdown to come:
In the past two years, Tennessee voting machines have flipped votes, disappeared votes, cut off candidate names, omitted candidate names; run out of memory mid-election, and one voting machine even went up in smoke and perhaps votes with it.
Several states have enacted paper ballot laws successfully
North Carolina saw increased transparency and lower residual vote rates. Florida’s Governor Charlie Crist took the bold step to restore integrity to Florida’s elections by swiftly banning paperless voting and implementing paper ballot optical scan systems across the state, increasing confidence in the system and lowering costs to administer elections. New Mexico banned paperless voting and also saw their undervote rate decrease.
Despite the citizens’ overwhelming support of Tennessee’s paper ballot law, the law has not been implemented. There is funding and time to enact the law. $37.1 million in HAVA money is still available according to Tennessee’s Office of Legislative Budget Analysis. Of this amount, only $25 million will be needed to purchase the necessary equipment. Despite the fact that Tennessee needs to move now to get ready for the 2010 elections, nothing has been done. Enough is enough.
Tennessee voters should tell Secretary of State Hargett to implement the paper ballot law in time for the 2010 elections. Tell him that you want an election system free from inaccuracy, malfunction and fraud. Contact Secretary of State Hargett by email at email@example.com or better yet, call the SOS office at (615) 741-2819
SOS Hargett should contact the North Carolina State Board of Elections, to learn how this is done.
The NC SBoE worked with lawmakers to submit a HAVA plan that allows for the use of some HAVA funds to assist in ballot programming and some printing. This helped our counties alot when we ditched paperless machines in 2005.
North Carolina is a state where we have appointed election officials, who have a job as long as they do a good job, its not political and we don't hire our elections officials by voting for them. This way, we avoid the ditch to ditch scenario seen in so many states where the SOS runs elections.
We do have bi partisan BoEs for each county and one at the state level.
Joyce McCloy NC Coalition for Verified Voting
TENNESSEE'S VOTING SYSTEM IS BROKEN, MOST CERTAINLY:
Nov 4, 2008 Shelby County. 100 voters disenfranchised. The Barlett municipal ballot did not load onto the machines in some polling places, preventing many Barlett voters from being able to vote in the city election. http://www.votersunite.org/article.asp?id=…
Oct 25, 2008. Davidson County. Disappearing vote. 1 voter never saw her vote on the paperless machine. An iVotronic touch screen malfunctioned and didn’t let a voter see her ballot, the voter said “I didn’t see the ballot to actually choose anything.” http://www.votersunite.org/article.asp?id=…
Oct 22, 2008. Knox County. Candidate names chopped off. The eSlate electronic voting machine displayed only the first three letters of the selected candidate’s name on the review screen. This caused confusion and likely disenfranchised many voters. People voting for Barack Obama saw a review screen said they voted for “Electors for BAR”. http://www.votersunite.org/article.asp?id=…
Oct 21, 2008. Davidson County (Nashville). Vote-flipping on the iVotronic paperless voting machine. Patricia Earnhardt pressed the button for Obama multiple times, yet it didn’t highlight. …The third time the poll worker pressed the button, the box beside Cynthia McKinney lit up — several rows down. http://www.votersunite.org/article.asp?id=…
Nov 9, 2006. Knox County. Votes up in smoke. Circuitry in a Hart InterCivic eSlate fails, calling into question over 2600 e-ballots. Knox County Election Commission Chair Pamela Reeves explains what happened to the machine. “Apparently, what it did was it smoked. http://www.votersunite.org/article.asp?id=…
Nov 7, 2006. Williamson County. Broken machines. Only two ES&S iVotronic touch screens worked in Grassland precinct. http://www.votersunite.org/article.asp?id=…
Nov 7, 2006. Hawkins County. Most machines not working. ES&S iVotronic touch screens didn’t work. Most of the voting machines were down until noon, http://www.votersunite.org/article.asp?id=…
Nov 3, 2006. Shelby County. Missing memory cards. These cards are the equivalent of ballot boxes. Several electronic voting cards, used to cast ballots on Diebold touch screens, are missing from a polling place in Memphis, according to the Tennessee Republican Party. http://www.commercialappeal.com/mca/local/…
Nov 2, 2006 Sullivan County. Not enough memory in machine. The control device (Judges Booth Controller – JBC) for Hart InterCivic eSlate voting machines shut down after 10,000 ballots were cast in early voting. The JBC would hold no more ballots in its memory. http://www.votersunite.org/article.asp?id=…
Those are just the ones that made it into the news.
And Tennessee already has FEDERAL money to pay for the change to paper ballots.
There is no need for any state taxpayer money at all.
In fact, TN must be earning interest on that Federal money.
1. The state already has the plenty of money through federal funding.
But IF you insist on keeping your flawed paperless voting machines, then the TN Secretary of State needs to return the millions of $ of Federal money that was allocated to the state through the 2002 federal act called HAVA.
By the way, what IS the SOS doing with that HAVA money? Where does the interest go on those multi millions? Other states have had their HAVA funds audited and charges have been brought.
2. Voting is much quicker on paper ballots that are optically scanned. That is because it takes about 1 second to feed the paper ballot into the optical scanner. It is quick. Voters only need a flat surface to mark their ballots. Right now, in most Tenn counties, voters have to wait their turn to use a voting machine to vote and get their vote recorded. These touchscreen or direct record machines cost around $3,500 and up. One touchscreen machine can handle about 115 more or less voters in a normal election day. Compare that to one optical scan machine that can handle 3,000 ballots in one day.
3. Once you switch to paper ballots optically scanned (good enough for schools to record multiple choice tests on), you can expect the undervote rate to drop.
In North Carolina, in 2006, we made the switch, using HAVA funds (like your state is sitting on earning interest for several years) and our undervote rate for president was cut in half.
4. With touchscreens, there is no original voter intent to use to reconstruct the election from, no recovery plan if a machine loses votes or switches votes. We found out in NC in 2004 when a machine lost 4,400 votes that could not be recovered. Florida saw 18,000 undervotes in a congressional race that was hotly contested. Without paper ballots you have no recourse.
Prevent Election Fiascoes in Tennessee – Enact Paper Ballot Law ...
Here are several points for Tennessee voters to consider:s:
1. The top state election officials is a partsian and is elected by the system that he overseas, this is a conflict of interest. Elections should be overseen by non partisan officials.
2. Mr. Giannini may be a nice person and good administrator, but he clearly has an overtly partisan background and should not be overeaing elections for "the people". There are many qualified people to run elections, and they should always be servants of all of the people, not 50% or fewer.
3. Mr. Giannini is using rhetoric that is easily disproved - using paper ballots is NOT insanity.
If you treat elections as you would treat business transactions, then you would expect to have a paper backup in the event of computer failure or else fraud.
It is crazy to have democracy depend on paperless voting machines.....North Carolina saw one voting machine lose 4,400 votes in the Nov 2004 election. This caused the outcome of a statewide contest to be undecided. It took about 1 year to get that contest settled, and it was thanks to one candidate dropping out.
If North Carolina had paper ballots (as used with optical scan) that contest would have been decided in a matter of days.
4. Mr. Giannini misleads the public in saying that paper ballot elections would cost too much. The truth is that Mr. Giannini's paperless DRE/touchscreen machines are far more expensive to own and operate than the paper ballot system. (The reason is that with the touchscreens, you need one voting machine per voter while voting, and this means needing multiple machines per polling place.)
The NC Coalition for Verified Voting, in 2005 - completed a study of annual expenditures of the election departments of four North Carolina counties. The study covered a 6 year period. We found that the cost of using touch screen voting or direct recording machines in Guilford and Mecklenburg county was about 30-40% higher than the cost of using optical scan equipment in Wake and Durham county. This means that not only are touch screens more expensive to acquire, they are also more expensive to operate year after year.
One factor that may explain why having touch screens cost so much more than optical scanners is because the county has to own and maintain so many more machines. We estimate that one optical scanner can count handle six voter?s votes a minute (or 360 per hour) as they are cast but because it takes a voter at least three minutes to vote with touch screens, it would take 20 touch screens to perform per hour as well as optical scanners. Additionally, touch screen machines use thermal paper ballots - both require special handling and climate controlled storage. Justin Moore, of Duke University Computer Science Department found that counties using touch screen machines required 20% more poll workers, and about 10% more precincts.
A true cost comparison of voting machines cannot focus just on ballot printing costs. All of the Boards of Elections costs must be considered. This includes staff salaries, staff benefits, training expenditures, equipment programming, maintenance, storage, advertising, printing costs, postage and storage.
See the cost per voter per year comparison for a 6 year period here at this link
5. The argument about the voting system standards is a matter of opinion and I believe a distortion of the intent of the lawmakers.
6. North Carolina implemented its paper ballot law within 8 months of passing the law. This included certifying voting systems, inviting RFPs, evaluating those RFPs, reviewing bids, accepting bid and vendor's bond plus CEO affadavit, bringing new voting system to central location for testing, then sending machines to counties for further acceptance testing. Law passed end of August 2005, new machines used in Primary in April See: 2006.http://votingnews.blogspot.com/2009/07/att…
7. Paper ballots/optical scanners produced a lower residual rate for President than did DRE/touchscreens in the Nov 2008 election according to this study of vote data:
So voters and taxpayers both are better off with paper ballots optically scanned.
Getting the law implemented boils down to will and also to competency. North Carolina has highly competent and skilled election officials. Does Tennessee?
By Chris McCoy
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