Skip to comments.The States with the Riskiest Voting Technology
Posted on 10/31/2012 8:35:41 AM PDT by Red Badger
Some statesincluding swing statesare more vulnerable to glitches that could tip the election. But the lack of a paper backup means such errors can go undetected.
Next Tuesdays presidential election will likely be extremely close, magnifying the potential impact of vote-counting errors. So it could be problematic that several states rely on computerized voting machines that dont print out a paper record that can be verified by voters and recounted by election officials if necessary.
Such machines are in use in 16 states, as indicated in red on the map above. Computer scientists and fair-election advocates have warned for years that potential software malfunctions are possible threats to the integrity of elections in counties and states that use these machines.
Another 13 states, including battleground states such as Nevada, Wisconsin, Ohio, and North Carolina, have at least some polling stations that use voting machines with a precautionary measure: a receipt that can be checked latera so-called voter-verified paper audit trail. These machines are still vulnerable to software glitches, but voters at least have a chance to spot errors and make sure their vote gets registered and recorded accurately.
Most of this computerized equipmentdirect recording electronic voting machines, or DREshas been introduced since federal legislation was enacted in 2002 that allocated $4 billion toward modernizing the voting process. There are several makes and models, and user interfaces vary, but all rely on computers to register and store votes. This makes them vulnerable to software bugs that could undercount or overcount votes. The DREs that dont produce paper records are considered the riskiest because a malfunction in such machines could be impossible to detect, much less fix.
These warnings, combined with reports of voting machine problems1,800 were reported to election hotlines in 2008, and 300 during the 2010 midterm elections, according to a report by authors from the Verified Voting Foundation, Rutgers Law School, and Common Causehave led many states to avoid or replace e-voting machines. Instead they employ paper ballots that can be read by optical scanners. Computer scientists who have studied election technology say this method is safer than DREs.
In contested states like Colorado, Pennsylvania, and Virginiawhich depend heavily on paperless DREsa glitch involving just a small number of votes could change the elections outcome. Florida, another state whose polls show a thin margin between President Obama and Mitt Romney, has paperless DRE machines available for disabled voters, because the technology is considered a way to improve voting accessibility.
Call me a Luddite but I like my paper ballot.
Mn uses paper ballots with optical readers. You have the speed of computer technology but retains a hardcopy record of every vote.
I consider that optimum.
My rural county in central Wisconsin (Adams) uses paper ballots. Population (7K spread among 16 townships) does not permit expense of purchasing computer/voting machines.
Yeah same here.
Fill in the circle and run it through a scanner with the paper ballots falling into a neat stack in the back. They even have a record of the order in which the ballots were cast. I also keep my paper receipt.
I like the paper ballots too..
when we went down to vote early last week we came home and watched the local news..It showed the very place we voted that the machines were regestering Obama when people were voting Romney..Then Florida says the same thing is happening there,now today they say it is happning in Ohio..Just watch your vote..I though at first it was just a glitch but not any more..
At least in my county in Florida, we use paper ballots with optical readers. Not sure where they use DRE’s
Does nobody use the mechanical pull a lever machines any more? No paper trail, but otherwise highly reliable.
I think they are now obsolete, for that very reason.........