Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Citizen Power Needed PA Counties Demand Paper Ballot Optical Scan

Pennsylvania citizens who want to vote using a paper ballot they mark by hand need to show their power by contacting election boards in three counties which may soon opt to purchase voting machines which electronically mark a paperless ballot.

Nothampton, Lackawanna, and Wayne

We've disussed and discussed the major detraction to the direct recording electronic (DRE) paperless ballot remains: should you vote for none of the above that is you leave a blank ballot, you don't even write in Daffy Duck for President, or try to slip in the name of a long past deceased President, you cannot be assured that election officials and the nation will read the intent of your blank ballot - accurately. Just look what happened in a Florida county where thousands of ballots cast on the paperless DREs remain under dispute for indications of under-voting. Were the under-votes, or blanks, caused by electronic machine malfunction, or were the undervotes intended by the voter? We'll never be sure as the only record able to be produced from the DREs is one that's a digital image copy of what the machine directly recorded.

We'll never know if the voter intended to leave the blanks in key races, or whether the machine mis-recorded and skipped races.

Whereas with a paper ballot that the voter marks by hand, one which is then scanned through a scanner which reads the ballot, you have the fair assurance that your intent is recorded in one place very clearly - the paper ballot with the optical scan second chance voting.

No doubt, there could be attempts at fraud at the polling place - that remains a potential - with tampering or even swapping of "removable" memory cards.

The culprits could get away with it. We might never know. Unless the system is audited.

If the optical scan system is front-end reviewed before use and back end review after use by an independent mechanism - the potential for fraud is lessened.

That potential can never be fully eradicated.

At least, with the paper ballot with the optical scan reader, the voter knows he/she marked a paper ballot which is a paper record.

That record would be used in the case of any challenges or disputes to compare to the optical scan tabulator record which is stored in memory, and which can itself be printed out on "different colored" paper.

The entire process must be overseen by who - you - the citizens of power.

Use it before officials you elected in three more counties go with the flow and only provide a direct recording electronic system which is paperless.

We've already posted much about Fayette, and of course, enlist your help in contacting officials there as well to finalize a swap with its vendor Hart InterCivic to add the eScans to its current inventory of only the DRE eSlates. That action will help to curb long lines and hour-plus waits at the polls. The voters in the past two elections were given the option of only the eSlates. This situation not only turned away people the last two elections, but is causing panic among election officials that fewer than-ever-before voters will turn out and set a historical record for the April Primary Presidential election.

Net the Truth Online

Primary could feature paper


How election technology finally came full circle


County racing to find new voting machines
Officials will meet with vendors Tuesday. They must pick by month's end
to be set for primary.
By Joe Nixon | Of The Morning Call
January 9, 2008

Northampton County expects to -- make that, needs to -- make a decision
on a new voting system by month's end.

''By the end of this month, I have to have a system on order,'' county
Director of Administration John Conklin said Tuesday.

The proposed time frame is tight but necessary, county officials have
said. The county needs to have a new system in place in time to train
voting office staff and poll workers for the April 22 primary.

Northampton County will host a vendor fair of sorts Tuesday at the
county Government Center in Easton. Invited are officials from
Lackawanna and Wayne counties, the only two Pennsylvania counties
besides Northampton that were using Advanced Voting Solutions Inc.
machines, now decertified by the state over testing and other issues.

The company's testing application with the federal Election Assistance
Commission was canceled in November when it didn't follow through with
information requested by the agency over a testing dispute between
Texas-based AVS and a lab under contract with the agency. Federal
certification is a prerequisite for certification in Pennsylvania.

Conklin said officials from Northampton, Lackawanna and Wayne will meet
with the state's five certified voting machine vendors Tuesday morning.
In the afternoon, he said, there will be more demonstrations during an
open session that will be attended by the Northampton County Election

County election workers will formulate a recommendation for the
commission, which will meet Wednesday to make a recommendation to the
county. That advisory will go before County Council at its meeting the
next day. Conklin said a decision is needed at that council meeting
because council doesn't meet again until Feb. 7.

He said all five voting systems certified by the state are available to
the county through the state contract system, meaning the county can
make a purchase without requesting bids...


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