Friday, June 10, 2005

Voting Machine Paper Trails

I disagree with the NYT editorial board so much that I almost feel obligated to comment when they write something that I think is eminently sensible. In "An Important Election Safeguard" they support a House measure that would require electronic voting machines in a federal election to produce a paper record of each vote, which could be tallied after the fact to verify the electronic count.

Paper receipts are an obvious feature that should have been required in any electronic voting machine the first time they were used. It's a very easy step that would improve the reliability and verifiability of elections. Voting machines that produce paper output would still serve their primary purposes of easing the voting process and streamlining the vote counting process (at least for uncontested elections). The additional cost of adding printers to machines and establishing procedures for storing and counting the receipts is easily balanced by the benefits.

Certainly some of the push on this issue is fueled by moonbattery. There are some who believe that all of the Republicans' recent electoral success is based on election fraud. But that false motivation shouldn't stop us from taking reasonable steps.

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