Joyce E Thomann just testified in favor of paper ballots on behalf of the Maryland Federation of Republican Women. Here is the first part of her testimony, which goes on for 10 pages. (Email me if you want the whole text.) It is helpful to remind ourselves from time to time that the effort for paper ballots is a non-partisan issue. Both Republicans like Governor Crist of FL and former Gov Ehrlich of MD, and Democrats like Governor Richardson of NM, have moved to get rid of electronic voting machines and replace them with voting systems based on paper ballots counted on scanners.
Quote: “I believe that by returning to the precinct-based Optic Scanner and also complying with the HAVA requirements for accessibility for the handicapped, which can be done by the use of an electronic marking device in each precinct, … the exodus of election judges will dramatically abate, the costs of conducting Maryland elections passed on to Maryland’s families through taxes will be substantially lower and Marylanders will once again have confidence that their vote IS counted as THEY cast it – not as an unknown programmer and/or computer hacker may have directed.”
TESTIMONY OF JOYCE E. THOMANN
On Behalf of members of the
MARYLAND FEDERATION OF REPUBLICAN WOMEN
REPUBLICAN WOMEN OF ANNE ARUNDEL COUNTY
And herself as a Maryland Resident and Registered Voter
Re: Senate Bill 392
February 22, 2007
Before the Senate, Education, and Environmental Affairs Committee
Chairman Conway, Members of the Committee: On behalf of the 1,600 members of the Maryland Federation of Republican Women, the Republican Women of Anne Arundel County and myself, I want to thank you for the opportunity to express support for Senate Bill 392.
At its 2006 Fall Convention and 85th Anniversary celebration, the Maryland Federation of Republican Women unanimously adopted a resolution calling for the passage of legislation to require voter verified paper records for use in all Maryland elections.
It is easy to see from the co-sponsors on S.B. 392 that this is a bipartisan issue. We all want to insure that the integrity of each vote, the cornerstone of our Nation, is protected by making certain that all votes are counted as cast by the individual voter.
On January 30, 2007 Florida Governor Charlie Crist announced his intention to recommend that the controversial touch screen machines be scrapped and replaced with optical scanners. U.S. Representative Robert Wexler, Democrat, was quick to praise the Republican Governor for his “bold and comprehensive” plan and went on to say, “We are about to resolve, once and for all, the election integrity problem in Florida, and we are about to realize the dream of creating a paper trail for every voter in the state of Florida.”
A past President of the Association for Computing Machinery , Barbara Simons, in her testimony before the U.S. House of Representatives Hearing on Electronic Voting Machines, said, “We all want elections that are reliable, secure, accessible, and trusted by the public. Given the known security risks, the possibility that software bugs could generate incorrect election results, or that computerized voting machines may fail during an election, we cannot trust that the results recorded in a paperless voting machine accurately reflect the will of the voters.” Her testimony went on to note, “Most computer professionals oppose paperless voting machines. . .
…Appearing to echo that comment is the December 2006 report of The National Institute of Standards and Technology which states:”But many people, especially in the computer engineering and security community, assert that DRE’s are vulnerable to undetectable errors as well as malicious software attacks because there is no audit mechanism other than what the DRE can report on: how many records it has stored, ballots styles, etc. Potentially, a single programmer could ‘rig’ a major election. The computer security community rejects the notion that DRE’s can be made secure, arguing that their design is inadequate to meet the requirements of voting and that they are vulnerable to large-scale errors and election fraud.”
 NIST Draft Report, Posted December 1, 2006, “Requiring Software Independence in VVSG 2007: STS Recommendations for the TGDC.” (14 pages, Appendix 3) http://vote.nist.gov/DraftWhitePaperOnVVPRinVVSG2007-20061120.pdf
…I believe that by returning to the precinct-based Optic Scanner and also complying with the HAVA requirements for accessibility for the handicapped, which can be done by the use of an electronic marking device in each precinct, also provided for in S.B. 392, the exodus of election judges will dramatically abate, the costs of conducting Maryland elections passed on to Maryland’s families through taxes will be substantially lower and Marylanders will once again have confidence that their vote IS counted as THEY cast it – not as an unknown programmer and/or co
mputer hacker may have directed.
60 Judson Avenue
Dobbs Ferry, NY 10522
“… touch-screen machines are highly vulnerable to being hacked or maliciously programmed to change votes. And they cost far more than voting machines should.” New York Times editorial, March 9, 2005