Saturday, November 10, 2012

No to New Voting Machines! Demand paper ballots!

Comment on T&G article In Worcester, ballot counting a slow process  By Nick Kotsopoulos,

Beware new ballot machines! And new vote counting machines too!  From what I've been reading practically every voting machine on the market is hackable, most of it has "proprietary software" that the City and State won't even be allowed to look at.  The owners of these companies have been known to brag that they can deliver an election to this or that candidate.  

Even if the owners of these machines are completely honest, trusting our votes to a "black box" owned by a private corporation and trusting them to tell us how we voted seriously undermines the appearance of fairness and public trust.

To me that's the Gold Standard is hand-counted paper ballots.  Most European countries by law don't allow anything but hand counted paper ballots, for very good reason. With representatives of each party and the City looking over the shoulder of the officials doing the counting, it can take a while, but I say tough noogies!  Let'em wait for us to count them!  An honest vote count is worth a few more hours of waiting!  

If we do buy new voting machines, the absolute bottom line, one we should be ready to go to the mat for, the City must not even bid on anything with proprietary software which can't be printed out and examined by our own experts. Every detail of exactly what the machine does with our votes and how it does it, and every software update or patch, has to be open book, public record, and fully examined before it is installed and used.  

Any standard lower than this is giving some corporation a license to steal our votes, and paying them good money for it to boot!  

But why bother with all of that?  Why not paper ballots?  They're traceable, they're re-countable, and they don't break down.  When the day comes that the votes from Massachusetts decide a presidential election and the whole country is waiting as we finish our hand count, we can beam with pride as we model for the rest of the nation what an old fashioned honest vote count looks like! 
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