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Voting machines are a problem

One of the greatest threats to our already fragile democracy is electronic voting machines.

The documentation of problems with electronic voting machines from this year alone is long. Unfortunately the documentation from the voting machines themselves is not, in fact it is non-existent, i.e. no paper trails.

It’s frightening how inaccurate theses machines can be.

In the 2002 Clay County, Kansas, commissioner primary, voting machines said Jerry Mayo ran a close race but lost, garnering 48 percent of the vote, but a hand recount revealed Mayo had won by a landslide, receiving 76 percent of the vote according to the book, “Black Box Voting.”

In Nov. 2003, Boone Co., Indiana machines counted 144,000 votes cast when only 5,352 existed.

In Ohio, we’ve seen enough evidence to know that these machines can’t be trusted with our most important public decisions.

A voting machine in suburban Columbus gave Bush an extra 3,893 votes in a precinct of less than 1,000 people, according to the Associated Press.

In North Carolina, a machine lost an estimated 4,500 votes in this year’s election. That’s 4,500 people disenfranchised. It doesn’t matter if they voted Democrat or Republican, because they won’t ever be counted.

In Columbus on Saturday, a public hearing was held for voters, or those prohibited from voting, to voice their concerns to a panel of lawyers and legislators.

Among the speakers was Lynn Landis, a journalist from Philadelphia.

When asked what proof she had that these computer glitches affected the outcome, Landis replied that there is no evidence and that is the problem.

She pointed out that two corporations are contracted to supply the electronic voting machines. “We have privatized and outsourced our voting process,” Landis said.

One of the two companies is Diebold, Inc. whose CEO Walden O’Dell, stated in a fund-raising letter for the Republican Party that he is “committed to helping Ohio deliver its electoral votes to the president next year,” according the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D., NY) described his idea to make these machines more reliable on CBS’ “Face the Nation” this past Sunday.

Basically, you vote then a paper ballot is printed from the machine to the voter. The voter then verifies that the ballot is correct, inserts it into an envelope and then the voter puts the envelope into a ballot box.

Landis believes a higher overhead cost for the companies that produce the machines has dissuaded them from adding a printer to the machine.

If that is the case, this is something that we as citizens cannot afford to allow. Our right to vote, to voice our opinion on the policies and directions of this country should not be subject to the monetary concerns of these companies.

People can still be held accountable, even if these machines can’t be.

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