& ELECTION OFFICIALS SIGN NATIONAL LETTER TO OBAMA
"Yes, "We Need
to Fix That," But Electronic Voting and Internet Voting
is Not the Answer
December 7, 2012 -- Several
prominent Pennsylvania computer scientists and election officials
have joined a broad national coalition of experts, including
congressional representatives, elections officers and cyber-security
experts, to sign a letter this week urging the president and
Congress to reject any calls for Internet voting and to move
to voter-marked paper ballots counted by modern optical scanners.
states that paper ballot based equipment has proven to be effective
at avoiding the problems that resulted in long lines in many
states and can be meaningfully audited or recounted.
"Approximately 85% of
Pennsylvania voters in 50 of our largest counties do not have
the basic protection of a voter-marked paper ballot to back up
and protect their vote," said VotePA's Executive Director,
Marybeth Kuznik, who signed the letter. "The computerized
voting machines Pennsylvania purchased under the Help America
Vote Act in 2006 will enter their eighth (8th) year of use in
2013. Yes, budgets are tight, but if federal, state, and county
officials do not start to plan for replacement now, we will face
real problems as these aging voting machines start to fail in
the not-too-distant future."
Following delivery to The White
House and other officials, the letter was announced yesterday
afternoon in a coalition
The press release mentions
that after voters across the country waited as long as seven
hours to cast their ballots and Hurricane Sandy wreaked havoc
on East Coast election systems last November, lawmakers in Congress
are introducing legislation to facilitate the voting process
in federal elections, and some parties have expressed Interest
in online voting.
"Internet voting seems
like a great solution. But relying on the Internet to transmit
a vote means not only opening the election up to hackers and
malicious forces, but also giving up the right to vote anonymously,"
said Barbara Simons, former president of the Association for
Computing Machinery and chair of the board of the nonpartisan
Instead, Simons and dozens
of other leaders in their fields are urging Congress to use scanned-in
paper ballots in federal elections.
"The lack of accountability
in our election processes has put our democracy at risk,"
said Peter Neumann, Principal Scientist of the SRI International
Computer Science Lab and Moderator of the ACM Risks Forum. "That's
why we urge Congress to adopt scanned paper ballots. They are
inexpensive, they can eliminate long lines because many voters
can vote simultaneously, and most importantly, they provide a
paper trail that can be verified, especially in the event that
an election result is called into question."
The letter to the President
notes that, had elections been too close to call in the November
contest, many jurisdictions that rely on electronic voting machines
would have had no way to verify whether their results were correct.
"Pennsylvania is part
of that group," adds Kuznik. "Recounts are meaningless
on our current paperless voting machines. And if we ever have
a real statewide election problem, we'll be in serious trouble
without paper ballots that human beings can count."
About VotePA: We are
a statewide alliance dedicated to voting rights and election
integrity. As a grassroots citizen group we count registered
voters of five different political parties and non-partisan voters
among our membership, united by belief in the right of every
eligible citizen to vote for candidates of his or her choice
and to have every vote counted accurately. We are a 501(c)(4)
non-profit organization, as such donations to support our work
are not tax-deductible but are very much needed and much appreciated. DONATE