Sunday, 19 October 2008

Electronic voting machine injunction in Laredo

The GOP challenger in the local state senate contest plans to seek an injunction against the use of electronic voting machines, and in the meantime has gotten the county elections administrator to require paper ballots for non-disabled voters during early voting. While I’m not very convinced by the fear of widespread vote fraud, having worked as an elections officer over the last year in New Orleans (where we used electronic machines) I can’t say that I’m incredibly confident in the workings of most electronic voting systems as a practical matter, especially given the limited training that most election workers get and the generally low level of technical expertise of those workers. And, particularly given the problems with the recounts in the Webb County sheriff contest earlier this year, serious caution with electronic machines would seem to be advised.

At least for non-disabled voters I think the best solution I’ve seen to date is to use optical-scan ballots with at-precinct scanning (which is what was used in my precinct when I lived in Oxford); that method ensures a paper trail that can credibly be recounted later, along with reasonably fast counts and instant feedback to the voter if their ballot cannot be recorded.

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I was pleased to see we were back to using the optical scan ballots again here in Slocala. I like to see that there is a paper ballot in case there is any charge that the election count has been tampered with. Marion Couty is having a large, early turnout for early voting which started Monday, Oct. 20.

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