What Fresh Hell Is This?

November 17, 2005

Don't miss your chance today to have some say in new voting machines!

The public is invited to a Free Voting Machine Fair
Thursday, November 17, 2005; 1 PM - 9 PM
Westin Convention Center Hotel
1000 Penn Avenue
(corner of 10th and Penn Avenues, Downtown)
Somerset Room, Second Floor

The November elections saw the last time Pittsburghers used the venerable lever machines after decades of service. Our county will be purchasing new machines in the next 2 months. What will replace them? Many hope that it will be a voting machine with a voter-verified paper audit trail (V-VPAT) with a routine audit. (FYI: the old lever machines did have a paper trail, but not a voter verified paper trail).

YOU have a chance today to check out several new voting machines that the county is considering and to make comments on these machines.

Why is this important?

Two reasons:

1. Will we get machines that we can

2. Will we get machines that the disabled can easily use? Or that, say, my 90-year old, never-miss-an-election grandmother can use? Or that don't intimate most people/create long lines and drive down the number of people who come out to vote to new depths of embarrassment?

As I mentioned here, B-PEP (Black Political Empowerment Project) held a press conference on Monday. I attended the conference which also included members from VotePA, Verified Voting, and other groups, as well as interested citizens. All of these groups have been working hard to ensure that Allegheny County gets the best voting machines possible. They also have gotten the hours of the fair extended from 6 PM to 9 PM.

Now all you have to do is show up!


zak822 said...

It is imperative that people remember the dangers of electronic voting.

What happens for real depends solely upon the programmer. Just because you cast your vote for candidate X, and you get a printout saying you voted for Candidate X, does not mean that your vote was actually recorded for Candidate X. It could just as easily be going to Candidate W.

Electronic voting machine can do more than one thing at a time, just like the PC you're reading this on. Like having Word and Excel open at the same time, or working on one document while you print another.

The only safe ballot is one that is mechanically punched; one you can take out and read for yourself to see that the vote you cast is the vote recorded.

Electronic voting is as prone to hackers and thieves as your computer is.

zak822 said...

"Will we get machines that the disabled can easily use?"

It won't matter. The overwhelming majority of polling places are not accessible for people who use wheelchairs or other mobility aids. They won't be able to get into the poll to see if the machine are accessible or not. If you doubt me, just call the Elections office and ask for a list of accessible polling cites. They won't give it to you.

People who are blind may benefit from the new machine.