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Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Forget your pipe dreams about taking the House and Senate in November
Posted by Jill | 8:36 AM

Not when four out of five American voters are going to be voting via touch-screen:

At least four out of five registered voters will use the newer generation of machines — either ATM-style touchscreen machines or ones that ask voters to fill in the blanks, a vast change from the contested 2000 presidential election that spurred states and Congress to push for improved equipment.

Back in 2000, just over half the voters had access to the latest technology.

By this fall, however, only one out of 33 voters will be asked to use the system that raised the most objections in Florida — punch cards — and just one in 10 will use a lever machine, according to a survey by Election Data Services, a political consulting firm that tracks election equipment. Six years ago, one in six voters used punch cards and one in five used levers.

The changes are bound to create their own glitches as voters and administrators learn how to use equipment they haven't voted on before, said Kimball Brace, president of Election Data. Just over 30 million voters will be casting ballots on unfamiliar equipment, he said.

"You throw that many people in on something new, you're always bound to see something go wrong," he said.

The changes have created new controversies, especially with accusations that touchscreen-style machines are vulnerable to manipulation. In response, 25 states have passed laws requiring election administrators to use machines that allow voters to verify their vote has been accurately counted, and that create paper receipts for a recount.

Those paper trails — called voter-verified paper audit trails — are creating their own challenges, as manufacturers try to respond to lawmakers' demands for the equipment, Brace said.

Here's the kind of results we can expect:

Voters will have another opportunity Tuesday in a special election to decide whether the city should have a combined fire and emergency medical services department with 24-hour staffing or continue as a volunteer fire department.

This is the second time in three months this levy has been before voters. Last November, the levy was narrowly defeated.

But those election results were set aside due to voting irregularities from the new electronic touch screen voting machines.

More votes were cast than there were registered voters in the city’s Montgomery County precinct. The city contested the results, and the Montgomery County Common Pleas Court ordered Tuesday’s special election at Montgomery County’s cost.

Voters on the Warren County side of the city will be using new optical scan voting machines.

Sayeth Brad Friedman, on whose site the above was found:

Montgomery County is one of 41 counties in Ohio to have added new Diebold AccuVote TSX touch-screen (DRE) voting machines for last November's election.

In that election, remarkable and virtually inexplicable results occurred across the state in regard to four Election Reform initiatives on the ballot, all of which were predicted to pass by large margins in a historically accurate poll released just prior to Election Day. We wrote about the "staggeringly impossible" results of that election back in November. Those results have still not been explained, despite 44 of 88 counties in the Buckeye State using all-new touch-screen voting machines for the first time in that election.

So forget it, folks. It's Republican hegemony forever, unless the Democratic candidates can manage to rack up leads so formidable that all the mainstream media spin of "a last minute push by Christian conservatives" won't wash.
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