Sunday, October 14, 2007

An Issue For The Candidates


For the past several years voting integrity activists have toiled to convince election officials, political leaders and the public that electronic voting machines and the companies that make them are not trustworthy. There is much evidence supporting this position.

Computerized voting machines (AKA electronic voting machines or DREs) are having a negative impact on our elections. Voters are being disenfranchised and are losing faith in the integrity of our elections. A 2006 report(1) detailed the failures of electronic voting machines during the mid-term elections:

* 18% of all problems reported concerned vote flipping on DREs.

* 80% of reports of usability problems were about DREs.

* DRE machine problems turned voters away in 50% of the states that use them.

* 66% of accessibility for disabled voters problems involved DRE voting machines.

* With DREs the official ballot is only an electronic record, voters cannot even see their ballots and are asked to trust that the machine is recording their vote as intended.

A recent Dan Rather Reports program(2) revealed that ES&S Ivotronic touch screens were known to flip votes but were sold to Florida anyway. The ES&S Ivotronic machines are the obvious cause of the contested, and as yet unresolved, 2006 Thirteenth Congressional District contest.

Remember the problems with the hanging chads in the Florida recount of the 2000 Gore - Bush contest? Sequoia Pacific printed the punch cards used in some parts of Florida. Sequoia workers told Rather that management purposely used substandard paper for the cards, and explicitly ordered the pressmen to alter the location of the chads on some cards destined to be shipped to Florida. We now know the 2000 election was sabotaged by a voting machine company.

New York citizens should tell all political candidates to prevent Election Commissioners from buying computerized voting machines.

The Election Commissioners are appointed by and answerable to the County Board of Supervisors or Legislature. Legislative bodies can block deployment of the electronic machines by refusing to fund the purchase of the machines and the many ancillary services they require.

Legislators must put Election Commissioners on notice that they will not approve budget items supporting electronic voting. Additionally, the they could enact a local law prohibiting the use of direct recording electronic (DRE) voting machines and requiring that a software independent, voter generated paper ballot be the ballot of record in their county.

Democracy is something you do.

Wayne Stinson

(1) E-Voting Failures in the 2006 Mid-Term Elections prepared by VotersUnite.Org, VoteTrustUSA, VoterAction.Org, and Pollworkers For Democracy. The full report can be found at: (
(2) HD Net, Dan Rather Reports, August 14th 2007

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