Connecticut says no to the machines!


Here’s an item that might interest you:

The story doesn’t sound important until you put it in context:

Lever voting machines to be used again this year Voters expecting to cast ballots electronically in November instead will be using the same metal lever machines they’ve relied on since the 1920s, Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz announced today.

What this means is that if you draft standards and rules that are fair, thorough, responsible, and ensure a verifiable, honest count, not a single maker of electronic voting machines can meet them.

Here’s the link.

0 replies on “Connecticut says no to the machines!”

WooHoo Connecticut!! Wow, maybe we should all go register to vote in CT and screw Diebold, ES&S, Sequoia, Triad, etc.

Thanks Mark! Feels so good to smile! :D


Great catch, and great news, especially coming on the heels of the decision in Wisconsin to require all electronic voting machine source code to be released to any member of the public upon request.

One thing to note, however, about these mechanical/lever-based systems: they are subject to some of the same criticisms as the proprietary electronic voting machines that are so roundly (and, in my opinion, rightly) criticized.

The mechanical/lever machines that I’ve seen (20 years ago, granted) did NOT prodce any voter-verifiable output. The voter went into the “voting cubicle” and pulled a bunch of levers; from the voter’s view, each lever visibly indicated that voter’s choice (i.e., the lever below “Candidate X” was pulled down). However — how does the voter know that the mechanical tally inside the guts of the device is accurately recording their preference? Anything from a poorly-greased mechanism to an illegally-modified machine could cause that vote to be miscounted, or not counted at all.

The key issue is voter-verifiability, as well as recountability. How do you perform a recount using the lever-based system? You just read the vote totals for each machine off the counter again, right? You can’t examine individual votes, and so, as with the proprietary electronic voting machines, you are trusting both the manufacturer and the machine to do things correctly, with no way to peer inside and verify the accuracy of the count.

So, Connecticut’s choice — while it’s heartening that they are resisting a move to modern, proprietary, closed-source electronic systems — isn’t quite the victory for transparent, verifiable voting that it might first appear to be.

Just my $0.02 — corrections, comments, and critiques welcome!

Some links for further reading:

Here’s the bill which passed (PDF)

Here’s an article about the bill’s passage

Here’s Slashdot’s coverage


Thank you, Steve H!

This is awesome news!!

I’m spreading the word here in Oregon.

Currently, our legislative or administrative “push” has been to institute election auditing. But I think an important approach is to just ban, by law, any further “trade secret” exemptions in a states’ public records laws, which is effectively what your new Wisconsin law accomplishes. Congratulations all around!! We can not all afford to sue the states over these vendor contracts as Paul Lehto is doing in Snohomish Co. Washington, as much as we might like to. Pursuing a legislative approach might be quicker and also have the effect of activating candidates for ’06 who should be running on this issue as part of their reform package. Maybe we can develop a legislation kit on this issue for activists to use throughout the country?

Thanks much,

Ginny Ross
Oregon Voter Rights Coalition

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