News behind the news. This picture is me (white spot) standing on the bridge connecting European and North American tectonic plates. It is located in the Reykjanes area of Iceland. By-the-way, this is a color picture.
On Friday, One America News reported that some election battleground states are taking steps to avoid voter fraud in next year’s election. Obviously there are a number of types of voter fraud. Some states have passed laws requiring a photo identification to prove that voters are who they say they are. The current efforts are to combat electronic fraud.
The article reports:
A leg of the Department of Homeland Security recently announced its soon to be partnership with election officials and non-profit VotingWorks that would audit votes in 2020. Ballot box officers say the purpose is to prevent possible hacks and watch for faulty voting machines.
Battleground states, such as Pennsylvania and Ohio, have already embraced a voter monitoring tool known as Arlo. Four other states have reportedly adopted the tool as well. The VotingWorks sponsored tool is free for state and local election leaders, and would double-check all votes cast.
Arlo is a web-based app that uses a security method called “risk-limiting audit.” During this process, a small percentage of the paper ballots are taken at random to check if they match what the machines recorded. Although the method is simple, many places don’t use them reportedly because many states use direct electronic voting machines, which eradicates all paper trails.
This is a really good idea. We need to make sure our elections are honest. Voter fraud is a problem. Various voter integrity groups have found multiple examples of illegal registrations in various states in recent years. Voter identity requirements and spot audits are ways to assure Americans that their votes count and are not being cancelled out by illegal votes or electronic shenanigans.
Yesterday The Hill reported that state officials in Mississippi have confirmed at least three reports of voting machines in two counties changing voters’ picks in the GOP gubernatorial primary runoff.
The article reports:
Former state Supreme Court Chief Justice Bill Waller and Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves are currently in a runoff for the Republican nomination in the governor’s race to see who will take on Democratic Attorney General Jim Hood in the November general election. Reeves led Waller in the Aug. 6 balloting by a 49-33 margin, though the race went to a runoff after no candidate hit 50 percent.
The issues emerged Tuesday morning, with one Facebook user posting a video showing a touch-screen voting machine changing their selection from Waller to Reeves.
“It is not letting me vote for who I want to vote for,” the voter says in the video. “How can that happen?” a woman in the background asks.
…Two other machines in Calhoun County exhibited the same issue of switching voters’ selection from Waller to Reeves, circuit clerk Carlton Baker told the Ledger.
All three machines in question are of the same model.
“We’re doing what we can to rectify the situation,” Baker said.
Voting machines that change votes need to be gone by 2020. It might be the right time to go back to paper ballots.
Going back to paper ballots may strike many people, as it used to strike me, as retrograde. Isn’t it a lot faster to count electronic votes? Isn’t there a danger that paper ballots can be altered, defaced, and burned? Isn’t electronic voting cooler and more up to date?
As I have stated before, technical things mystify me. However, it does seem to me that having a paper record to verify voting totals is a good idea. It may not be necessary to go back to counting paper ballots by hand if we can scan them by machine and have the physical ballots to verify the totals.
The article concludes:
The fact is that sacrificing a bit of speed for reliability is probably a good trade. The strongest argument for paper ballots is that they can’t be hacked. The second strongest is that there is an independent record of each ballot cast, which some computerized systems lack.
It may take a long time to count ballots in some states where they include many offices and ballot propositions, but people can wait. And recounts of paper ballots can result in disputes over hanging chads and the like, but these are difficulties our republic has been handling for over 200 years. My vote is for paper ballots.