Electronic voting is bad news–including op-scans (Jonathan Simon)

Here is Jonathan Simon’s valuable response to Brad Friedman’s recent piece, “Cast Your
Ballot Against Electronic Voting,” at


This AOL piece is very well-written and persuasive, an easily comprehended and fatal indictment of DREs. That leaves opscans, and the implication of their non-mention is that they are fine and dandy. We both know that isn’t the case. Coakley-Brown in MA was on opscans and, if you read my analysis (attached), you can see that it was just as rigged as Rawl-Greene, and just as impervious to forensic investigation. In 2008, moreover, our forensics showed that the rigging was concentrated in the opscans and not the DREs (perhaps because more scrutiny was being focused on the DREs).

I know we have differing views as to the advisability and efficacy of half-steps. But an all-out assault on DREs which by implication gives a ringing endorsement to opscans is, at best, an incomplete and misleading message. I hope you have an opportunity to follow up with a piece detailing the dangers of opscans in the real world, where the ballots wind up off-limits and/or subject to easy chain-of-custody breaches. You can bet that if the GOP were to ditch the DREs and legislate opscan voting, it would not include public access to the ballots or serious chain-of-custody protections. Then what?

BTW, would not be surprised if the big story today is that they give us no data to work with at all–
no exit polls, perhaps no running vote totals. That’s what they did for the primaries. Also, our best forensic efforts simply teach them what they have to hide and how to hide it. After my Coakley-Brown analysis, with its comparative delineation of handcount and opscan towns, came out and was shown to the AG in Mass, we did get a response: they “updated” the City and Town Directory on the state elections website to remove all information (which had been there ever since I can remember) regarding the voting method of each town. Rather petty I’d say, but nice to know we’re having an impact. Best wishes on this bear of a day.


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