North Carolina Coalition for Verified Voting Comments
Regarding the AP article, Paper Trail on Voting Devices a Bumpy Road
The future of democracy in North Carolina will hinge on a paper wad fight. ...
Jan 3, 2008. We thank Mark Johnson, reporter for the Charlotte Observer for breaking this story. Part of reducing problems is making the public aware. The story warns that the our touch screen counties, including Mecklenburg - are using machines with a track record for paper jams . In the event of a hotly contested race coming through any of the counties, the results of the election could be placed in doubt for lack of a reliable paper ballot for every vote.
We would like to address some of the comments made in the article:
McCloy and other critics say the paper jams on the new machines mean there is no paper trail to verify the electronic recording of some votes on the machines.
"That doesn't mean you lost the votes," said Michael Dickerson. "I still have three flash memories (in the machine) of that vote being cast."
Dickerson's: "doesn't mean you lost the votes" --doesn't mean you didn't either. It does mean you just lost your only chance to prove they were accurately recorded. Further, his comments belie what State Board of Elections Chief Gary Bartlett said about officials "believing in" independent verification... Someone who doesn't grasp that 3 x (redundant memory of an inaccurately recorded vote) or 3 x (an unrecorded vote ala Carteret 2004) isn't going to cut it, fails to grasp the value of the independent verification mechanism.
Gary Bartlett, executive director of the N.C. State Board of Elections, said the state's experience is that optical scan machines indicate more discrepancies between the electronic and paper vote totals than touch-screen machines.
Mr. Bartlett does not know if there are more frequent discrepancies between OS ballots and OS tallies versus
DRE paper records and DRE tallies, because he can't even ensure that there are touch screen/DRE paper records for a significant percentage of the votes in recent elections.
Besides, some of those discrepancies are to be expected and even welcomed, since the auditors can see what the machine may have missed, and are able to discern voter intent where machines sometimes fail to.
It helps you learn whether your equipment is properly calibrated, for example, or whether you need to change marking pens for future elections.
Today it is paper," Bartlett said. "Hopefully technology will solve issues surrounding paper where an alternative choice could be used, or a better paper solution."
Gary Bartlett has still not come to grips with the fact that touch screens not appopriate for elections and voters are better served with systems like optical scanners.
States like New Mexico, Florida, Ohio and Virginia (through attrition) have already gotten the wake up call and have or will be ditching the touch screen machines.
When urging the replacement of Florida's touch screens with optical scanners, Florida's Governor Charlie Crist said: "I don’t want Florida to be embarrassed in the future, in our elections, and we have a big election next year."
North Carolina should quit spending good money on bad machines and phase out the touch screens.
Charlotte Observer | 01/02/2008 | Paper trail on voting devices a ... The future of democracy in North Carolina will hinge on a paper wad fight. extra description. ... Paper trail on voting devices a bumpy road ...
newsobserver.com | Paper trail on voting devices a bumpy road
NC: NC Election Officials Working to Avoid Potential Paper Jams
Candidates Urge Voter Turnout in Iowa -- GOPUSA