Voters deserve a paper trail

| 15 Feb 2012 | 09:41

    In 2002, the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) was signed into law by President George W. Bush. HAVA set forth requirements that all voting machines in America be replaced with electronic machines and allocated $3.9 billion in federal money to the states over the next three years to buy electronic voting machines to replace paper ballot voting systems. In many states and counties where the new voting machines were used, serious problems cropped up during voting and vote counting. "The problem with touch screens as vote counters is that they can be easily manipulated," said Mike Devereaux, ES&S sales representative. Sussex is the only county in New Jersey to use the ES&S system and this year has had its share of problems too. In Green Township school elections this April, initial tabulation by ES&S machines showed the school budget failed, when it actually passed. One district was counted twice. On Primary Day in Sussex County, a software "bug" halted balloting results before tallying all districts, leaving officials with incomplete results. The final tally came nearly a week later. County Freeholders showed their concern by withholding their regular maintenance and service payment to ES&S Freeholder Philip Crabb, the boards' liaison for technology issues, said "Software just doesn't have good days and bad days." ES&S IVotronic machines have proven to be vulnerable to hacks, viruses and failures, flipping, missing, uncounted and uncountable votes. Sussex County should honor its voters by taking the initiative to replace these paperless machines with ones that produce auditable, voter-verified paper ballots. Bonnie Rubin Highland Lakes