Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

Lawmaker sues to add paper trail to new voting machines
Sarasota Herald Tribune ^ | March 09. 2004 | AP

Posted on 03/09/2004 6:43:22 AM PST by NautiNurse

WEST PALM BEACH -- Florida's voting machines came under attack again Monday when a lawmaker sued state election supervisors because new ballot counters lack a paper trail needed for possible recounts.

Democratic U.S. Rep. Robert Wexler said voters need to be assured every vote is counted, particularly in close races where a manual recount is required by law.

"Why doesn't Gov. Bush simply say, "Let's improve our Florida election system even more than we've done so, provide for certainty and provide for security and in case something goes wrong, have a back up?'" Wexler said moments after filing the lawsuit in federal court.


"Then all Floridians, Republicans and Democrats and independents alike can have confidence in our system."

The Department of State notified elections supervisors last month that manual recounts don't have to include ballots from Florida's new touchscreen voting machines because there is no question about how voters intended to vote.

The computerized voting machines replaced the state's infamous punch card ballots, which produced the dimpled, hanging and pregnant chads at the heart of the 2000 presidential election controversy. The confusion over vote counting led to 36 days of recounts which ultimately awarded George W. Bush the presidency.

Hours before Florida voters head to the polls for the 2004 presidential primary, Wexler said the machines, which were expected to rid Florida of ballot controversies, have created new problems and violate the U.S. constitution because only some Florida counties can accurately conduct recounts.

Indian River County Supervisor of Elections Kay Clem, president of the Florida State Association of Elections Supervisors, said the paper receipts are unnecessary because the machines already can print out an audit at the end of an election day.

Klem said those who argue that the votes inside the machines can be ignored or changed through some malfunction or deliberate action are not considering the security measures already in place.

"Our machines don't have modems. They're not networked," Klem said. "Somebody would have to go into each polling place and go from machine to machine and tamper with them while the polling workers are there."

Since Florida replaced its old voting system with the new touchscreen voting machines, ballot printers have been embraced most enthusiastically by Democrats and groups still angry about 2000.

Officials hoped to avoid the problems of the last presidential election, when some voters claimed they weren't allowed to cast ballots because they were mistaken for convicted felons, were omitted from voter rolls, didn't provide identification even though it wasn't necessary or didn't understand English.

Other voters, notably in Wexler's home county of Palm Beach, said a confusing ballot design, dubbed the butterfly ballot, led them to vote for the wrong candidate.

Although the new voting machines solved many concerns, new questions arose about whether they could be trusted to tally votes without a paper record of results. Critics say the machines are susceptible to errors and fraud and that a paper trail is needed in case a re-count is required.

"We need everything and anything that will make people feel comfortable that their votes will be counted," said Palm Beach Commissioner Addie Greene.

"I don't think the public has much confidence in the system the way it is now."


Palm Beach elections supervisor Theresa LePore said the punch card machines also did not allow for a paper receipt where voters could double- check their ballots. Although she believes the printers are unnecessary, she said that if the voters and state Legislature approve them, "so be it."

LePore, Klem, and Secretary of State Glenda Hood are named in the suit.


TOPICS: Politics/Elections; US: Florida
KEYWORDS: ballot; electronicvoting; hangingchad; papertrail; votingmachine
More circling of the wagons.

Vote early and often... ;o)

1 posted on 03/09/2004 6:43:23 AM PST by NautiNurse
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: NautiNurse
I hate to say it, but the whiner is right.

A voting system with no paper trail is a prescription for disaster. There is no need to have elections if no one can know who people really voted for.

So9

2 posted on 03/09/2004 6:47:32 AM PST by Servant of the 9 (Goldwater Republican)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: NautiNurse
Personally, i like the idea of a paper trail for my own confidence.

Ideally i would like to see a system where i could get a recipt for my vote that holds a code number so i can check later to see if my vote was counted and counted correctly.
3 posted on 03/09/2004 6:47:38 AM PST by cripplecreek (you win wars by making the other dumb SOB die for his country)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: NautiNurse
Democratic U.S. Rep. Robert Wexler

Did you hear this howling beast (sounded like Dean) at the Kerry rally?  What a detriment to society.

4 posted on 03/09/2004 6:51:20 AM PST by quantim (Victory must be absolute, it cannot be relative.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: NautiNurse
Palm Beach elections supervisor Theresa LePore said the punch card machines also did not allow for a paper receipt where voters could double- check their ballots.

This is about as lame as it is possible to get. A true Democrat. The punch card ballots are paper that you can double check!

5 posted on 03/09/2004 6:52:28 AM PST by 17th Miss Regt
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: 17th Miss Regt
i believe Theresa LePore left the democratic party after the 2000 election citing harrassment.
6 posted on 03/09/2004 6:54:30 AM PST by cripplecreek (you win wars by making the other dumb SOB die for his country)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: Servant of the 9
Yep. An auditable (is that a word?) paper trail is a must.
7 posted on 03/09/2004 6:56:39 AM PST by Let's Roll (Kerry) is a self-confessed unindicted war criminal or... a traitor to his country in a time of war)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: cripplecreek
She may have left it, but her reasoning shows that it hasn't left her.
8 posted on 03/09/2004 7:03:10 AM PST by 17th Miss Regt
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: Servant of the 9; cripplecreek
I hate to say it, but the whiner is right.

Agreed--a paper trail is crucial. I just don't understand why the whiner didn't make this case in 2002.

9 posted on 03/09/2004 7:05:14 AM PST by NautiNurse (Missing Iraqi botulinum toxin? Look at John Kerry's face)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: quantim
Did you hear this howling beast (sounded like Dean) at the Kerry rally?

Fortunately, I missed it. Must have been taking out the trash or something. I'll take your word for it though....

10 posted on 03/09/2004 7:06:46 AM PST by NautiNurse (Missing Iraqi botulinum toxin? Look at John Kerry's face)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

To: quantim
Did you hear this howling beast (sounded like Dean) at the Kerry rally? What a detriment to society.

Yeah, but in the "even a broken clock is right once in a while" mode, he is right about paper trails. I'll go one step further and say that the paper trail generated for a specific voter should be visible to that voter before he/she leaves the polling place.

11 posted on 03/09/2004 7:06:55 AM PST by kevkrom (Ask your Congresscritter about his or her stance on HR 25 -- the NRST)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

To: NautiNurse
I never thought I'd say this, but I agree with Weasel Wexler. Having no independent paper trail with touch screen voting is an open invitation to wake up some day and discover our new President is Linus Torvald or Bugs Bunny, "elected" by some hacker.
12 posted on 03/09/2004 7:08:07 AM PST by Semi Civil Servant (Stoic about asteroids)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: NautiNurse
Obviously he didn't get the DNC memo about who would REALLY be doing the cheating. Nevertheless, I agree with him on this one.
13 posted on 03/09/2004 7:12:43 AM PST by PBRSTREETGANG
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: NautiNurse
It is an embarrassment that Florida has to be sued in order to provide vote security. They should be up front leading the pack demanding a verifiable paper trail. No wonder Pax Christi is sending international monitors in to the "developing nation" of Florida to monitor its elections.
14 posted on 03/09/2004 7:15:58 AM PST by ItsMyVoteDammit
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: quantim
Democratic U.S. Rep. Robert Wexler

and Wexler just made national news...WHY did he wait until election day to do this?


15 posted on 03/09/2004 7:17:22 AM PST by NautiNurse (Missing Iraqi botulinum toxin? Look at John Kerry's face)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

To: ItsMyVoteDammit
Why do you think Florida is the only state in the Union with this issue?
16 posted on 03/09/2004 7:18:30 AM PST by NautiNurse (Missing Iraqi botulinum toxin? Look at John Kerry's face)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 14 | View Replies]

To: kevkrom
he is right about paper trails

No argument from me.  With an 'honest' voting regimented system used in places like Florida, Cook County, etc. will only reduce corruption in favor of the good guys.  

17 posted on 03/09/2004 7:21:41 AM PST by quantim (Victory must be absolute, it cannot be relative.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 11 | View Replies]

To: NautiNurse
I'd think the dems are keying on Florida because it's enough to swing the electorial their way. I think most republicans would take this paperless voting issue a lot more seriously if someone like Soros owned the machines and software.
18 posted on 03/09/2004 7:22:31 AM PST by steve50 (“Let me . . . warn you in the most solemn manner against the baneful effects of the spirit of party.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 16 | View Replies]

To: NautiNurse
Let me control the proprietary secret software that tabulates the votes, and I control the election outcome.
19 posted on 03/09/2004 7:24:55 AM PST by rustbucket
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: NautiNurse
Its not just Florida. All of the states have this issue. California has already been sued and they lost and now are being forced to provide verifiable paper audit trail for votes. But Florida is fighting harder against voter rights. Perhaps the voting machine companies have spread more money around in the state of Florida.
20 posted on 03/09/2004 7:25:00 AM PST by ItsMyVoteDammit
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 16 | View Replies]

To: Servant of the 9
A voting system with no paper trail is a prescription for disaster.

I wonder if his bosses at the DNC are reminding him that the paper trail is what made Gore's attempted theft of the Florida election more difficult. They would much rather push a button and get a thousand extra votes than have to torture a confession out of each ballot with a dimpled chad.

"Somebody would have to go into each polling place and go from machine to machine and tamper with them while the polling workers are there."

In the problem districts, the Dems are the poll workers, the Dems are the vote counters, the Dems are the election judges and they even sometimes take voting booths and ballots home with them. Changing a few unauditable electronic votes would be less work than wholesale ballot punching is right now.

21 posted on 03/09/2004 7:28:17 AM PST by KarlInOhio (Sweetest sound on earth: the clink of a dental hygienist finally putting down the scraping tools.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: NautiNurse
Wexler doesn't know it, but the is doing EXACTLY what needs to be done. An electronic vote without a paper ballot backup is subject to all sorts of tampering.
22 posted on 03/09/2004 7:31:53 AM PST by Blood of Tyrants (Even if the government took all your earnings, you wouldn’t be, in its eyes, a slave.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: NautiNurse
Excellent news from an unexpected source. Thanks.
23 posted on 03/09/2004 7:32:54 AM PST by lodwick (Wake up, America!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: ItsMyVoteDammit
Florida is fighting harder against voter rights.

Florida makes the news more than any other state. The conservative counties are not having these problems. Only the Democratic strangleholds have an indicted former Supervisor of Elections (Mim Oliphant), and missing voting machines.

24 posted on 03/09/2004 7:37:24 AM PST by NautiNurse (Missing Iraqi botulinum toxin? Look at John Kerry's face)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 20 | View Replies]

To: cripplecreek
Exactly. A simple roll of double copy paper (like the ones when you get a CC receipt) that has a code number and who you voted for on it. You tear off one copy and the other is displayed behind a clear window for you to see and is stored in the machine.

If ot doesn't match, you can IMMEDIATELY request that your ballot be nullified (enter in the code number and it is erased) and revote.
25 posted on 03/09/2004 7:38:00 AM PST by Blood of Tyrants (Even if the government took all your earnings, you wouldn’t be, in its eyes, a slave.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: NautiNurse
Question.
What happens when paper ballots exceed computer ballots?

Bingo. Their cheating has been exposed. They can say, "See? It doesn't work! It doesn't register every vote!"

When in actuality, they will have stuffed the box with paper ballots they created in the back seat of their car to push their candidate to the forefront.

Watch and see.
26 posted on 03/09/2004 7:38:54 AM PST by mabelkitty (A tuning, a Vote in the topic package to the starting US presidency election fight)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: ItsMyVoteDammit; NautiNurse
But Florida is fighting harder against voter rights.

I think it's deeper than that.  In the context that the Florida Sec. of State upheld the law says the 'State of Florida' is fighting for the voter.  But there seems to be confusion at lower levels.  With all the reforms taken/taking place there it just says to me the dems are trying to save face from the 2000 loss and toss the blame elsewhere besides their inferior candidate.  They want to create and maintain an image that will justify the loss 4 years ago to them.  They cannot, and as usual, are trying to create confusion that will reinforce their corrupt, unprincipled attempt to gain power at the expense of the truth.

27 posted on 03/09/2004 7:39:28 AM PST by quantim (Victory must be absolute, it cannot be relative.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 20 | View Replies]

To: KarlInOhio
I wonder if his bosses at the DNC are reminding him that the paper trail is what made Gore's attempted theft of the Florida election more difficult. They would much rather push a button and get a thousand extra votes than have to torture a confession out of each ballot with a dimpled chad.

I think they are setting up to have Floriduhs vote canceled if they lose it again.

"Somebody would have to go into each polling place and go from machine to machine and tamper with them while the polling workers are there."

That is assuming the code wasn't hacked before it was burned into the PROMs in the machines.
Object code is notoriously difficult to verify.
Despite thousands of Computer Science students crawling through the code for the early UNIX systems critiquing it and looking for flaws, no one ever found the back door inserted by the creators.
It is naive to assume there is no back door or other undesirable code in a voting machine.

So9

28 posted on 03/09/2004 7:41:10 AM PST by Servant of the 9 (Goldwater Republican)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 21 | View Replies]

To: mabelkitty
What happens when paper ballots exceed computer ballots?

Good point. Paper ballots and/or paper trails should be numbered, with the voter obtaining a receipt.

29 posted on 03/09/2004 7:42:29 AM PST by NautiNurse (Missing Iraqi botulinum toxin? Look at John Kerry's face)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 26 | View Replies]

To: NautiNurse
It is just so sad and unfortunate that I must agree with a Democrat on this one. There is already enough fraud in voting. Using computers with no paper trail only adds to the problem.

On the other hand, a good hacker might easily cause a machine to show a vote for one party while the print out would show a vote for the other party and the voter would never know.

You vote for a Republican on the touch screen, you get your print out that shows you voted Republican. But the machine reports Democrat. Can you imagine the absolute fiasco of a recount to prove this??

30 posted on 03/09/2004 7:43:40 AM PST by technomage
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: cripplecreek
I don't understand why they can't give an electronic code number that could be looked up on the internet to verify one's vote was counted correctly. If the votes were contested then the electronic numbers could be published and verified by the actual voter assuming the voter was interested enough to follow election results. Yeah, it would require a piece of paper with the number on it be given each voter, but whats the problem with that? At my polling place each vote is counted as it is inserted in the voting machine and there is a number associated with it that shows on the machine, it is the total number of votes cast as of that vote. I would like a method of confirming that my vote was counted correctly.
31 posted on 03/09/2004 7:53:47 AM PST by pepperdog (God Bless and Protect our Troops)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: cripplecreek; Blood of Tyrants; NautiNurse; pepperdog
No, no, no to the receipt idea! Nothing wrong with having a paper backup that is printed and deposited at the same time you vote "electronically", but the voter must NEVER handle the paper verification "ballot" or have a number which can verify his vote.

It will return voting to the practice where party hacks can demand "proof" of how you voted and would allow them to return to the days of voter payoffs before the days of the secret ballot. That is how major political parties enforced "loyalty" on election day, give us proof of how you voted and if you vote the "wrong" way, you're screwed.

Even most demoRAT hacks realize this and won't push for it because they know that they can be "hit over the head" with the fraud angle...


dvwjr
32 posted on 03/09/2004 8:27:05 AM PST by dvwjr
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: dvwjr
No, no, no to the receipt idea!

You didn't offer an alternative idea to circumvent voter fraud. Ideas?

33 posted on 03/09/2004 8:33:41 AM PST by NautiNurse (Missing Iraqi botulinum toxin? Look at John Kerry's face)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 32 | View Replies]

To: dvwjr
Okay, but I would like to actually SEE the paper ballot that is being printed to verify that IT is correct. A little window that opens for your viewing after you vote and closes when the election volunteer sees you are done is a good idea.
34 posted on 03/09/2004 8:58:08 AM PST by Blood of Tyrants (Even if the government took all your earnings, you wouldn’t be, in its eyes, a slave.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 32 | View Replies]

To: NautiNurse
I did, and "Blood of Tyrants" echoed it. Nothing wrong with a paper confirmation ballot being printed behind a "window" that allows a voter to check that the printed paper ballot matches the votes cast on the electronic screen. Then when the voter confirms everything is OK, the electronic tally is made, the paper backup ballot is deposited by machine into a ballot box.

The voter has the reassurance that the electronic and paper ballot match, and if anyone did change the electronic system so that the electronic vote "appeared" to be OK, and was really different than what was displayed to the voter, the printed paper backup ballot would catch the difference. Now if there was any question about the validity of the particular electronic voting machine in question, the backup paper ballots would be the ultimate count. The one failure mode even for this system is that the electronic vote could be tampered with just enough to affect the outcome, but if the victory margin is more than the percentage necessary for a manual paper recount the skulduggery will go unnoticed since there would be no reason to conduct a manual paper ballot count...


dvwjr
35 posted on 03/09/2004 10:37:41 AM PST by dvwjr
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 33 | View Replies]

To: dvwjr
I guess I've lived a sheltered life. For years we had receipts that we tore off the bottom (or top) of our ballots and there were numbers on them, I don't know if there were corresponding numbers on the ballots or not. I never heard nor thought of enforcers looking at numbers and then comparing them to the ballots but I suppose it is possible. I still think there should be some way to publically publish vote talleys so that the individual voter can verify that their vote was correctly counted and no fraudulent figures were attributed to the particular voter. We all have certain passwords that we protect and use online, something like that should be available to the voter.
36 posted on 03/09/2004 9:00:02 PM PST by pepperdog (God Bless and Protect our Troops)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 32 | View Replies]

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson