Friday, March 06, 2009

In defence of lever voting machines

Interesting article on lever voting machines at OpEdNews which I missed in the summer of 2008.
"I have been voting on lever machines since 1972. They may be old-fashioned, but their durability is proven by the very fact that they are still in service. I am not alone in trusting them. So does Bryan Pfaffenberger, Professor of Science and Technology at the University of Virginia, who was awarded a National Science Foundation grant to study lever machines. Pfaffenberger agrees that the reliability of lever machines, which were expressly designed in response to fraudulent counting of paper ballots, "has been proven in a century of service." He concludes that, "the lever machine deserves recognition as one of the most astonishing achievements of American technological genius."

I am on record as an advocate of paper ballots, counted by hand, at the polling place, in full public view, on Election Night, no matter how long it takes. I arrived at this position as a direct result of an audit of the 2004 presidential election in Ohio, undertaken at an unprecedented scale, under my direction. Rady Ananda, an election integrity advocate and a veteran of the Ohio investigation, is quite correct in stating that "our call for hand-counted paper ballots is directly related to our distrust of computerized voting systems."

Pfaffenberger believes "that there would be no such call for paper if the ugly history of fraudulent practices enabled by paper ballots were known." To the contrary, I am well aware of an astonishing variety of fraudulent methods utilized in Ohio, where, in the 2004 election, 85% of the votes were cast on paper -- 70% on punch card ballots, and 15% on paper ballots run through optical scanners. The other 15% of the votes were cast on electronic voting machines."

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