It is so easy to feel smug about our voting system in America, and feel that it is vastly superior to what we read about in other countries. We tend to pooh-pooh the “purple thumb” trademark of voting that we see in the news, and think that our wonderful voting machines have everything covered; once we affix the red “I Voted” sticker to our lapels and leave the polls, our votes will be accurately counted as to each of the choices we have made.
Not so fast – those wonderful voting machines are totally nonverifiable, and have been proven to be in error on vote counting in many instances.
According to an article by Brad Friedman, “Opinion: Cast Your Ballot Against Electronic Voting,” some 20 to 30 percent of voters in the U.S. will be voting on touch-screen machines, which means that these devices will be responsible for determining and reporting the “results” of some of the closest and most-watched races around the country Tuesday.
Friedman states: “Some DRE systems pretend to offer voters the chance to review a “paper trail” printed alongside the machine. But these paper trails aren’t actually counted by anyone — the votes are recorded inside the computer hardware where nobody can “confirm” them for accuracy. Even if voters review the paper trails before casting their ballot, they can’t verify that the hardware recorded their vote as intended. …
“While voters must be instructed to “carefully review your ballot to make sure your vote is accurately cast,” no matter how carefully they “cast” them, there is no way to ensure that they are accurately recorded or counted.”
When the new Congress convenes in January, 2011, citizens must get this issue addressed, and have legislation passed to eliminate voting machines and allow only paper ballots.
In the meantime, Friedman urges voters that before you vote today, check with your state or county to learn if you have the right to vote on a verifiable, hand-marked paper ballot. It will increase the chance of your vote being counted and counted as you intended.
For many more details on this issue, I urge you to read these two eye-opening, informative articles by Brad Friedman:
Opinion: Cast Your Ballot Against Electronic Voting
The Faith-Based Vote
Opinion of the writer