Friday, January 25, 2008

VotePA Weighs in on Talk program paper ballots

Marybeth Kuznik, founder of VotePA, invited by a state Democratic committeewoman to call into a radio talk program when she was a guest, addressed Fayette County's choice to plan to acquire the voting system by November's General Election which includes paper ballots and scanners.

Kuznik noted an injunction was granted by a challenge to the state's DRE electronic voting systems. the injunctio prevents the acquisition of additional DRE paperless electronic voting systems, she said.

WMBS radio host, 'Bob Folta' asked the organization's director about the time process using the paper ballot and eScans.

Kuznik said the process would take a shorter time. With the DREs, or direct recording electronic machines, estimates are even with 3 units operated at the same time, machines are tied up for a longer period when voters take longer than recommended times of some 3-minutes or slightly longer.

"You could have many many voters voting at one time on paper ballots and it takes literally a second or two to process through the scanners," she said.

Asked about cost factor, some estimated $400,000 to supply the minimum 103 scanners, vs the lower estimate per eSlates, Kuznik responded that "is going to be worth the money."

Kuznik said the organization hadn't crunched those numbers, but the state's COSTAR program establishes negotiated prices with the vendors and those are public record. She noted the board of commissioners could sell off some of the DREs in the county's stock, retaining the necessary amount of handicapped accessible machines known as eSlate DAUs.

Studies have shown the cost of implementing paper balloting systems even with the cost of the paper year to year is less, and is more efficient.

VotePA is available on web and members have number of resources there, according to Kuznik. We have members in many counties so we stand ready to help these folks.

KuZnik noted PA it is among the last states to go with paper based system. Many large states are doing this and the non-paper systems seem to be on the way out.

9 Pennsylvania counties use completely paper based and 4 use a mixed system. The organization is working to get more counties to go with paper.

We could be the next Florida or Ohio, and in many counties we won't have these, we may have egg on our faces...

This system will not leave us with hanging chads, very easy to see on paper what their intent was...

Asked about what led to replacement of punchcards, Kuznik said legislation was passed in 2002 in response to horrible problems in 2000 Presidential election. Evidence unfolding over the years has shown the paper stock was inferior, a nightmare situation. Congress offered to pass bill quickly and didn't give a lot of thought to kinds of systems available to replace the punchcard system, forgot to consider the computer security, the identity theft we have, a vote has to be secret so it's that much harder to protect the intention.

Only record we can have is the anonymous paper ballot, there is a physical paper, and some voter made these choices and they have right to have these counted accurately, Kuznik said.

Strongest way to go is paper ballot with an audit trail.

Scanners will be compatible with new federal legislation if it passes. Support the new Rush Holt bill 5036 and request your listeners to contact Rep. John Murtha, and Shuster and get them to co-sponsor.

The federal legislation should it pass may provide the funding for the system Fayette intends to adopt.

More resources



Voting system choice up in air

Jim and Donna Tomasetti couldn’t decide which of the electronic touch-screen devices on display Wednesday at a Lackawanna County-hosted voting machine fair they liked best.

But the Dunmore residents were clear what their recommendation to majority Commissioners Mike Washo and Corey O’Brien would be: no more paper ballots.

“We don’t want to go through what we did in the last election — that fiasco,” Mr. Tomasetti said after he and his wife, both Election Day poll watchers in the borough, tried out each of the voting machines under consideration to replace the county’s decertified Advanced Voting Solutions devices.

For three hours at the Hilton Scranton and Conference Center, they and other voters had a chance to offer input to county officials after getting hands-on with four voting machines, plus a pair of optical-scan paper ballot systems, from four different vendors.

Mr. Washo and Mr. O’Brien insisted their search for a new voting system to replace the AVS machines is still a wide-open process — not just which machine or optical-scan sys- tem they’ll choose but also how the deal will be structured...

Voting system choice up in air
Why No mention of the many who LIKE PAPER BALLOTS?

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