Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Lou Dobbs On Electronic Voting

I'm not normally a big fan of Lou Dobbs. In the past, I've only found one thing that he and I agree on - outsourcing of U.S. jobs to foreign countries must be stopped. Now we are in agreement on a second thing - electronic voting. The idea of agreeing with a right-winger like Dobbs kind of bothers me, but he is right on target on this issue. Here are some of his thoughts on the issue:

"...there is additional uncertainty about the outcome of our elections that is intolerable and inexcusable, and which could make the contested 2000 presidential election look orderly by comparison. As of right now, there is little assurance your vote will count. As we've been reporting almost nightly on my broadcast for more than a year, electronic voting machines are placing our democracy at risk.

Across the nation, eight out of every 10 voters will be casting their ballots this November on electronic voting machines. And these machines time and again have been demonstrated to be extremely vulnerable to tampering and error, and many of them have no voter-verified paper trail.

There is simply no way in which election officials and their staffs of thousands of volunteers with limited experience and often poor training can possibly carry out reliable recounts.

Princeton researchers found that "malicious software" running on a single voting machine can steal votes with little, if any, risk of detection, and that anyone with access can install the software. The study also suggests these machines are susceptible to voting-machine viruses.

A 2005 Government Accountability Office report on electronic voting confirmed the worst fears of watchdog groups and election officials. That report said, "There is evidence that some of these concerns have been realized and have caused problems with recent elections, resulting in the loss and miscount of votes.

That is simply unacceptable.

When voters lose confidence in our elected representatives, we can vote the bums out. But what is the recourse if American voters lose confidence in our electoral system?"

What do you think? Do you trust the electoral system in your county? I do believe that most election officials are honest, but with electronic voting it only takes a couple of dishonest people to screw up the voting of an entire county? After the primary election debacle here in Tarrant County, where the machines tallied 100,000 extra votes that had not been cast, I'm afraid I no longer trust the system. I'm still going to vote, but I have no confidence that my vote will be counted.

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