Elayne Riggs' Journal (for Leah)

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Secret Ballot

At first glance, the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) seems straightforward enough with regard to electronic voting machines. But as so often happens with these things, the reality is turning out quite different. According to eRobin Stelly, who's organized a blogswarm on this issue today, "HAVA doesn't mandate a voter-verified paper ballot although it does not mandate against a paper ballot. It's a very vague and poorly constructed bill. 26 states have passed legislation that mandates a voter-verified paper ballot and a 5% random audit... 13 states have similar legislation pending... Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick (PA-08) will be introducing legislation initiated by the Coalition for Voting Integrity to push back the HAVA deadline past the 2006 primary season. This is legislation that counties all over the country have been begging for. This is legislation that helps the cases of Connecticut and New York, both of which have announced that they will not be HAVA-compliant anywhere near the deadline of the 2006 primaries... If we can get the CVI/Fitzpatrick bill to be law, we may be able to get the voter-verified paper ballot legislation passed in many if not all of those 13 states." Something I didn't realize before: "op-scan machines are by design equipped with a voter-verfied paper ballot and, despite their flaws, are the electronic machine that voting groups like the Coalition for Voting Integrity support."

Of course, I'm still confused as to why US voters can't just mark an X on a piece of paper and drop it into a box, like voters in most other countries do. But then, I'm also confused as to why we have Election Day on a workday.