Tuesday, November 29, 2005
ACTION ALERT: Last Election Reform Task Force Meeting 12/14
From Paul Stokes of United Voters of New Mexico:
The last meeting of the NM Legislature's Election Reform Task Force will be held in Room 307 of the Roundhouse at 9 AM, Wednesday, 14 December. A good crowd in the gallery to show support for our key issues will be really important in getting our key concerns addressed.
Our top issue is likely to be paper ballots. Another important issue that we are likely to raise is assuring that the paper ballots or paper audit trails are hand counted rather than machine counted. A third issue that concerns us is that the Task Force is recommending that correcting problems in the audit provision can be put off until the 2007 legislative session because that would still leave time to be ready for the 2008 presidential elections. We want to be sure that delay won't result in dropping the matter.
Click the link to download a paper prepared by New York Verified Voting that provides excellent background for the advantages of paper ballots over DREs (Direct Recording Electronic), which are the touchscreen or pushbutton electronic machines: Advantages of Paper Ballots (PDF)
In order to meet the new New Mexico law for "voter verifiable and auditable paper trails", the DREs would need to be retrofitted with printers. These printers produce a paper tape similar to a grocery receipt, which is kept by the state as the record of the vote.
Personally, I think the key reasons to prefer paper ballots that can be counted with optical scan machines or by hand over the DREs that count the ballots electronically and produce a paper trail are that with paper ballots:
- The paper ballot is inherently verifiable by the voter as part of filling out the ballot,
- There is considerable good experience in NM and across the country with paper ballots and optical scan machines,
- Paper ballots and optical scan machines have demonstrated fewer errors than DREs,
- Paper ballots are a much more intuitive, easily understood medium,
- Paper ballots are much easier to recount by hand for audits and recounts,
- Voting systems using paper ballots and optical scan machines cost much less than DRE voting systems.
See the PDF download above for additional reasons and rationale.