Sunday, 7 November 2004
Minor mishaps underscore need for paper
Despite the rabid attacks on and religious defenses [pdf] of evoting, cooler heads after the election should admit that problems do still exist but the ones documented for this particular election were relatively minor. Minor, that is, as election-day problems go. Among the most serious problems were Ohio's mysterious phantom ballots. Had Ohio's tally been closer than 130,000, this — and similar problems in other states — might have posed a serious problem.
Proponents of evoting are singing its praises in the wake of a Supreme-Court-free election. Unfortunately, it is unknowable whether evoting really did its job. After all, the number of documented problems includes only those that we could...well...document. Of these, it does not appear that any of them, taken alone, changed the result in any state's Presidential tally.
We should not forget that (1) the undocumented problems are, by definition, more insidious, (2) election problems of all types may be cumulative, and (3) evoting did (and continues to) have problems. A mandatory paper receipt system remains a simple and relatively cheap measure that would resolve many of the remaining issues.