by Max Brantley
With another stolen congressional election in Florida the impetus, that state is getting ready to abandon touch-screen voting machines and go entirely to the more reliable, auditable process using paper ballots that are scanned by machine. This is what Arkansas should do. No ifs, ands or buts. I used a touch-screen with the paper trail, but it's virtually impossible to read the paper trail as you vote to assure yourself that your ballot was prooperly marked. NY Times says:
Other states that rushed to buy the touch-screen machines are also abandoning them. Earlier this week, the Virginia Senate passed a bill that would phase out the machines as they wore out, and replace them with optical scanners. The Maryland legislature also seems determined to order a switch from the paperless touch screens, though it is not clear yet if it will require the use of optical scanners or just allow paper printers to be added to the touch screens.
On Monday, Representative Rush D. Holt, Democrat of New Jersey, plans to introduce a bill in Congress that would require all voting machines nationwide to produce paper records through which voters can verify that their ballots were recorded correctly. A majority of House members have endorsed the proposal, and the changes have strong support among Senate Democrats. Mr. Holt’s bill would also substantially toughen the requirements for the touch-screen machines that have printers, and experts say this could give even more impetus to the shift toward the optical scanning systems.