This refers to the piece I sent out yesterday, under the heading “Paper ballots + computerized voting = no real progress.”


>*General Distribution* of the essay “Paper Ballots a Step Backwards”
>is in my opinion unhelpful to our collective efforts, and confusing
>to the public as well, because it does the following things:
>(1) Trashes paper and/or paper ballots
>(2) Praises voting machines, albeit only one certain type of machine (levers)
>(3) Cites MIT/Caltech with approval (we’re in trouble if everyone
>accepts them)
>(4) reinforces the meme that paper=backwards when paper=visibility +
>checks and balances which is what we really need, and in fact paper
>ballot systems constitute the most advanced system of checks and
>balances every developed by humanity for elections, when done right
>(of course, many elections officials are too lazy or corrupt to do
>it right)
>In contrast, most people agree paper ballots are the ideal, but can
>only be done in rural counties, and are not realistic where there
>are large numbers of ballots like big cities. However, ballots
>require a certain number of volunteer or paid workers per thousand
>ballots, and there’s really no reason why cities can not possibly
>get the same number of workers per thousand ballots! The total
>population of people, in other words, is irrelevant because it also
>increases the size of the pool of workers available at the polls,
>and presumably cities are in a better position to PAY if necessary.
>Even if some objections are still dreamed up to paper ballots hand
>counted, there’s really NO EXCUSE for writing off this high
>transparency, public supervisable, secure system on account of “it
>isn’t realistic.”
>To summarize, while I tend to agree with some of the specific
>conclusions or most of them, the framing here hurts us by creating a
>negative impression of paper, which is a viable system all by itself
>(and as a backup if necessary). There’s already way too much
>anti-paper propaganda out there from elections officials, because
>for their purposes being anti-paper means being anti-accountability,
>anti-work and pro-convenience. But, that’s the life of a public
>*servant*, accountability, work and lack of convenience.
>Paul Lehto

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