Frequently Asked Questions on Voting Technology


Q: Why are computers a problem for vote counting? 

A: Computers are a problem because the votes are counted in secret inside the computer's "black box" which is currently off-limits to inspection and oversight, even by elections supervisors. Only the voting machine manufacturer knows how the computers are programmed.  

Q: Are Optical Scanners okay? They use paper ballots.

A: No. They scan paper ballots, but the scanners themselves are computers and have been proven easily hacked and manipulated. 

Q: Isn’t an audit of the paper ballots enough?

A: Not currently. The only way to know with certainty that every vote was properly counted is to count every ballot by hand in public. Audits - limited recounts to "check" the outcomes of election results - can deter fraud and detect errors in the computer count, but only if they are robust and extensive. Otherwise if they are too limited, they can be gamed, and actually facilitate vote manipulation and fraud. Additionally, once the ballots leave the precinct or are stored overnight, the secure "chain of custody" is broken. Any audit that takes place after that point may have experienced ballot tampering. Some audits today are no more than re-issuing the same unverifiable electronic "receipt" from computers.

Q: Can’t you rig a paper ballot election?

A: With a process that includes stringent oversight, it’s very difficult to do so. See-though plastic boxes can prevent ballot box stuffing. Counting the ballots in public on election day stops the back-room fraud prevalent in the past. Additionally - and most importantly - paper fraud is detectable, whereas computerized fraud is not.

Q: Aren’t computers more accurate?

A: No. Studies show that paper ballots counts are the most accurate, and when done properly the results are produced quickly. In first world countries across the globe, from Swizterland to Canada to Israel, paper ballots are counted by hand quickly and efficiently. 

Q: Don’t we need computers for disabled people to vote privately?

A: The disabled community was cynically used by proponents of ballotless DRE touchscreen voting machines. While ballotless Touchscreens should not be allowed for use by the general public, the exception is that one electronic voting machine can be allowed in each precinct, e.g. an Automark, for people with disabilities to use. Under no circumstances whatsoever can any other voters be allowed to use this especially designated machine. 

Q: Are early voting and mail-in ballots a good thing?

A: No. They do not allow for proper oversight and chain of custody of our ballots.  We have no idea where our ballot goes after we cast it, whether it is secure, or has been counted.






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published this page in Why Demand Paper Ballots? 2015-07-27 20:32:44 -0500
commented 2013-12-23 13:48:31 -0600 · Flag
Thank you
published this page in Why Demand Paper Ballots? 2011-10-12 17:30:37 -0500