Today is the end of the electronic voting machine

by kos

Tue Nov 07, 2006 at 12:04:06 PM PST

Republicans are complaining about voting irregularities as loudly as we are today. A Republican governor, two Republican congressmen turned away from the polls. Votes supposedly switching in electronic voting machines in New Jersey. Complaints coming from New Mexico and elsewhere.

Here’s the bottom line — no one trusts those machines anymore. And not only do they damage the integrity of our democracy, but they give losing campaigns an excuse to grandstand and further erode faith in our system. Paper ballots (or optical scan) is a solution, but it doesn’t solve the problem of voter turnout, voter intimidation, the problems with inclement weather, and lack of voter education when entering the booth.

Jeremy Wright has led a campaign to promote Oregon-style vote by mail (which is now in place in most of Washington state). He just posted a diary on the mechanics of it.

It’s clear the current system is broken. We have dumped hundreds of millions of dollars and it’s not getting any better. Time to cut our losses and look at the most sensible solution available.

Voter participation: It increases turnout — 84 percent of registered Oregonians voted this year.

Convenience: People can vote according to their schedule.

Education: People have time to study issues and candidates before voting.

Fraud protection: It has built-in safeguards that increase the integrity of the elections process.

Built-in paper trail.

Voter eligibility: Built-in time to resolve disputes.

Actual results are released when polls close as opposed to unreliable “exit polls.”

Financial: It saves money.

And it’s still a secret ballot:

Oregon’s Vote by Mail system is simple and straightforward. Ballots are mailed 14 to 18 days before an election to the registered address of the voter; the voter has two weeks to return the ballot through the mail or by dropping it off at official drop-off sites. The voter must sign the outside of the envelope (the ballot is sealed in a separate envelope inside) and that signature is checked against the signature on file with the elections division.

But whether it’s vote by mail or something else, it’s looking increasingly clear, with the discontent on both sides of the partisan divide, that political pressure for change will be intense.

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