Jan. 23, 2008: Paper is best

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To The Editor:
If you’ve had concerns about computerized voting in New York State, an important deadline is looming fast. By February 8 our county boards of election will be required to select a ballot-marking device to be purchased and available in every polling place for people with disabilities. The selection must be made from a list of devices the NYS Board of Elections (BOE) will provide on January 23. That’s a slim window of time for counties to evaluate machines that are uncertified and may never have been seen or tried by local commissioners. If county commissioners do not make a selection by the deadline, the State BOE will make the selection for us. The conventional wisdom is that the device we purchase will likely become the template for our future voting system.
From all I’ve read and learned, our best choice is NOT a DRE (direct-recording electronic device or “touch screen” machine). Our best choice is a simple ballot marker. The paper ballot it produces could be hand counted or eventually read by optical scanners. Paper ballots provide the only transparent and truly auditable voting system — with or without optical scanners.
Don’t take my word for it. Check The Daily Star or the NYS League of Women Voters websites. Do your own research, but do it fast. Then call or write your election commissioners and let them know you want paper ballots.
Contact them at 607 746-2315 or write to Delaware County Board of Elections, 3 Gallant Avenue, Delhi, NY, 13753.
Lisa Tait,
New Kingston