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November 11, 2005

Voting machines Story

-- by Dave Johnson

Wisconsin Assembly OKs voting paper trail,

With only four dissenting votes, the state Assembly easily passed a bill that would require that electronic voting machines create a paper record.

The goal of the legislation is to make sure that Wisconsin's soon-to-be-purchased touch screen machines create a paper ballot that can be audited to verify election results.

"Wisconsin cannot go down the path of states like Florida and Ohio in having elections that the public simply doesn't trust," Rep. Mark Pocan, D-Madison, one of the bill's co-sponsors, said in a news release. "By requiring a paper record on every electronic voting machine, we will ensure that not only does your vote matter in Wisconsin, but it also counts."

Posted by Dave Johnson at November 11, 2005 10:11 PM

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Comments

So, which is it, paper record or paper ballot? Only a paper ballot means a damn thing. People who want paper records want to steal elections.

Posted by: richard [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 11, 2005 11:08 PM

Question: Who were the four representatives who voted no?

"People who want paper records want to steal elections."

Compared to people who do _not_ want a paper record for electronic voting machines?

Posted by: Bribes [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 12, 2005 7:06 AM

NY state has to make its choice soon, too. The consensus is for voting on a paper ballot and then using a paper scanner to record the votes. It seems that the voting machine companies don't want to sell us the equipment to do that. They don't even want to bring the equipment here so we can see how it works. I'll keep you posted.

Posted by: MJ at November 12, 2005 10:53 AM

Ballots are legally defined, legally protected things. There are lots of laws that protect ballots. These laws exist. They're reasonably strong. And records are, uh, what? I don't know either. Any chance to right new laws about new things "voting records" presents an opportunity to steal elections. Anyone who talks about paper records is an election thief. People who are in favor of fair elections talk about paper ballots.

Elections, at a minimum, must be:

(1) transparent
(2) auditable
(3) verifiable
(4) accessible
(5) protected

Transparency immediately implies that corporations have no business being involved in any way whatsoever with elections. Any machinery required for an election can be purchased, but it must be owned and operated exclusively by civil, not corporate entities. There can be absolutely nothing shrouded as "trade secrets". Election workers must be civil servants or volunteers.

It must be possible to audit every ballot for a reasonable period of time. A ballot must be a physical artifact. Digital artifacts are simply too easy to forge, change, or destroy. (Yes, of course, physical artifacts can be forged, changed and destroyed, but it is orders of magnitude easier, that is, cheaper and less dangerous, to do such things to digital artifacts.)

Elections must be verifiable by accurate exit polls. Ideally every election would be exit polled by civil servants. Exit polls are, among other things, triggers for audits. It is not possible to have confidence in elections without exit polls.

Elections must be accessible to all voters. Machines and special procedures should be used to facilitate voting by those facing difficulty using ordinary voting procedures. But a paper ballot must always be produced by these helpers.

Elections must be protected by extremely harsh criminal penalties for attempting to tamper with results.

Posted by: richard [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 12, 2005 12:11 PM

Good for Wisconsin!

Posted by: Kevin at November 12, 2005 12:30 PM

Hmm... my town (Whitewater, Wisc.) has been using paper ballots which are counted with optical scanners. Don't see how this proposal would improve the situation locally.

Posted by: guyy at November 12, 2005 8:04 PM

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