Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Iowa: Ames Straw Poll Holdup Shows Why Paper Ballots Are Best

By Iowans for Voting Integrity

August 13, 2007

Reported problems with one of the paper ballot scanners used in the Ames Republican Presidential straw poll reveal that touchscreen voting machines, on the defensive nationally and on their way out in Story County itself, are no match for voter-marked paper ballots.

“They had a problem with the voting equipment, and they had individual, durable paper ballots to ready to count by hand,” said Sean Flaherty, co-chair of Iowans for Voting Integrity. The Ames straw poll used only paper ballots counted by optical scan equipment. “Problems with election equipment always happen. Paper ballot systems offer the best backup.” Read more here.

1 comment:

LaniBrown said...

It's not the paper…at least not just the paper. Paper cannot ensure our votes won't be lost somewhere in the bowels of some miscreant computer. California and Florida’s recent research into voting machines is a major breakthrough. And Dan Rather's report speaks for itself. However, we must do more.

First, until we fix our election laws to be on par with technology, to protect us from machine and human error, and HUMAN INTERPRETION of election results our election process will continue to be broken. The courts should not decide the people's choice. In 2006, it was the failure of Florida's revised election laws that permitted an election with statistically improbable results to stand (18,000 undervotes). 2000's debacle with the pregnant chads resulted from failure to maintain the voting equipment properly. However it was the failure of Florida's election laws that permitted the chaos that followed. Had Florida's election laws caught up with technology, both elections would have been an automatic re-do.

Second, if we are to achieve one voter, one vote…every time, we must go back to basics. Apply sound business practices to ensure the voting systems we purchase fully meet our needs for election integrity. And ensure those machines work…all of them. Not just a sampling.

Until we implement high-bar guidelines for voting machine providers and elections officials to uphold, no hedging, no exceptions we are at risk. And while the heroine of novel, "A Margin of Error: Ballots of Straw" scoffs at the notion of a silent coup marching across the country in her fictitious voting machines…. It could happen more easily than any of us want to believe.