Friday, February 8, 2008

Political Reform, Lesson 14: Providing a Paper Trail

As most of us should know by now, electronic voting machines have created countless (no pun intended, but an appropriate word) problems in recent elections. If you need a a refresher, here are some lowlights.

From 2004: machines in North Carolina erased more than 4,000 ballots and failed to count several thousand others; one machine in Ohio arbitrarily gave Bush an additional 4,000 votes.

From 2006: machines counted each vote three times in one Texas county; in Sarasota, Florida, 18,000 votes simply vanished; a machine in Arkansas registered no votes for one mayoral candidate who knew he had received at least two votes, his and his wife's.

There are too many other problems from the past to list. So let's look ahead. The following groups are among those at the forefront of efforts to force elections officials (and electronic machine manufacturers) to provide a verifiable paper trail for all electronic votes that are cast. Any one of these groups can provide valuable information on what you can do to make sure your vote, and everyone else's, is actually counted on Election Day.

Voters Unite
Where's the Paper?
Verified Voting
Velvet Revolution
National Voting Rights Institute
True Majority

There are so many others that it would be impossible to list them all. This is another election problem that all voters should be concerned about. And it's another political that all of us can support, regardless of our party affiliation or independent status.

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