Click to embiggen.

Click to embiggen.

According to the National Association of Secretaries of State, jurisdictions in 49 states use the kinds of voting technology that Tre Hargett says we cannot use.

Optical Scan System: Optical scan machines scan and tabulate the selections made on a paper ballot. Voters make their selection using a pen to fill in an oval or connect two lines. Jurisdictions in 49 states and the District of Columbia use optical scan technology in some capacity. Seven of these states use optical scan only to process absentee or mail ballots.

If 49 states (including Pickett and Hamilton counties in Tennessee, by the way) use optical scan machines to count paper ballots without incident, then why can’t we?

  • Share/Bookmark

14 Responses to “Facts About Voting Machine Technology from the National Association of Secretaries of State”

  1. Bernie Ellis says:

    One quick amendment to the above: Even if coffee is spilled on paper ballots (by some clumsy pachyderm, perhaps), they can still be read manually. Try pouring a pot of coffee on the innards of a DRE and see what useful information you can obtain thereafter. (Actually, coffee-drenched DREs would be as verifiable as pristine DREs. That is to say, not verifiable at all).

  2. Bernie Ellis says:

    This is my first time to respond to Ryan here, mainly because he seems to be a shrill sophomoric shill for our ball-less (and law-less) Secretary of State. But Ryan’s dribble below cannot go unanswered. So here goes: (Ryan’s babble is in quotes.)

    “There are lots of logical reasons not to use optical scan machines and paper ballots.

    1) People that are handicap (sic) have a much harder time with a pencil and paper than a DRE.”

    The TVCA requires ballot-marking devices for disabled voters in every precinct so that their votes can be recorded on the paper ballot without the need for the disabled voter to use paper and pencil. (Read the bill, numb-nuts)

    “2) It is much slower to scan a few million paper ballots (and much more room for error) than to hit the “get results” button.”

    The paper ballots are scanned in the precinct as they are cast. At the end of the evening, the precinct-based opscan produces the vote totals with its own version of a “get results” button. However, the paper ballots remain available to be recounted manually to audit the accuracy of the opscan, to validate close elections and to deal with other problems that might arise from the opscans. Again, Ryan, if you had ever bothered to learn anything about the TVCA or precinct-based opscan voting, you would know that. But you do seem to be allergic to facts and the reality-based world.

    “3) There is a much greater chance for fraud with a paper ballot system. Ballots can get “lost”.. or if the bubble isn’t filled in correctly, the vote could not even be counted. Better yet, some human could have to decide voter intent when that situation arises. I can’t imagine trying to pick intent of a voter I didn’t know, from a piece of paper with some dots on it.”

    Tell me, Ryan, which is easier — filling out hundreds (millions) of fraudulent replacement paper ballots (all of which would be detectable if the unique numbers assigned to each ballot were examined by election officials) or entering a few lines of malicious computer code to flip all those votes in DREs or central tabulators without possibility of detection? (In case you don’t recognize the form, that, Ryan, is a rhetorical question.) If a ballot is filled out incorrectly (e.g., voting for two candidates for the same office), the precinct-based opscan rejects the ballot and allows the voter to recast her vote. That reduces dramatically the number of ballots that require a review by poll officials to determine voter intent. In cases where determining voter intent is necessary, the voter’s intent is usually easy to detect on paper ballots (again, something you would know, Ryan, if you knew anything about this subject.)

    “4) A paper ballot takes 3 minutes plus to fill out, a machine takes 1 minute, tops. This contributes to long lines and deters people from voting.”

    Ryan, if you weren’t so full of shit, you’d be an empty hard-drive. This statement of yours has no basis in reality whatsoever. Optical scan voting is 10-15 times faster than voting on DREs, primarily because the act of completing the ballot in a paper ballot/opscan system is separated from counting the ballot (unlike the DRE). Thus, faster voters can complete their paper ballots and have them counted while slower voters are still completing their ballots — the faster voters are not forced to wait on the slower voters before they too can vote.

    We conducted a simulation here in Tennessee comparing two groups of 21 voters apiece, one group voting on paper ballots/opscan and the other on a DRE. The fastest voter in each group took 3 minutes to vote and the slowest in each group took 13 minutes. (Each voter-pair in the two groups stair-stepped their time to vote by 30 seconds to cover the time between the fastest and slowest voters.) In this simulation, the entire group of 21 voters in the paper ballot/opscan group was finished voting in 13 minutes (all of them). The DRE group, whose individual voters took the same amount of time to vote as their paired voters in the opscan group, took 2 hours and 43 minutes before all voters were finished voting. That is why ridiculously long lines have become commonplace in DRE precincts and are virtually nonexistent in paper ballot/opscan precincts. (I am happy to send this simulation to anyone here who wants a copy.)

    “5) A paper ballot can be ruined. Coffee can be spilled on an entire stack of paper ballots. Oops.. let’s call all these people and have them come back to vote again.”

    That’s why — when paper ballots are recounted — the vote-counters take care not to spew anything on the ballots. (Duh.) Of course, a single line of malicious computer code could flip every single vote and no one would be the wiser.

    Ryan, you are one deluded (and under-employed) lap-pig for the TN/RICO. Since your last name is Blackwell, that should come as no surprise to the rest of us. Tell me, Ryan, who’s your daddy? (Kenneth Blackwell, that famous 2004 Ohio election thief, perhaps?)

    OK, that’s enough information for your little mind to process today. If, that is, your mind can process anything. Please get back to earning a living as a part-time landscaper — I’m sure your parents are anxious for you to move out of their basement. You might consider a new career as a zoo-tender, where shoveling elephant shit all day would actually be a good thing.

  3. Ryan says:

    Mary got a nickname after she talked about one of my friends. I don’t make it a point personally attack anyone.. BWLIB is just a friendly nickname. I never said I was holier-than-thou.. I just asked you not to personally attack me. I know that is obviously hard for you to grasp, with the IQ you were afforded.

    You liberals have a hard time talking to people that don’t buy your BS… and that is why i’m not part of your “track record”.. have you noticed a decrease in responses since someone was here for rebuttal? I have. Seems like no one wants to respond when there is an idea different than your’s, on the table. What’s up with that?

    Freddie, since you are a programmer, please explain to Mary how a program could tally votes accurately.. she needs guidance.

  4. Freddie says:

    Ryan, we have a long track record of having productive civil dialogue with conservatives and others who disagree with us. You’re not a part of that track record, and you’ve already repeatedly resorted to personal attacks (BWLIB, etc.), so cut the holier-than-thou crap. Your list of reasons isn’t what makes you a troll, and neither is the mere act of disagreement. But thanks for playing.

    And uh, Ryan, I am a computer programmer, and one thing I can tell you is: no one other than the vendors can confirm anything about the machines.

  5. Ryan says:

    Freddie, I gave you a list of reasons why I think paper ballots are a bad idea, and you call me a troll. I’m not here to disagree with every you blog about, but I don’t agree with much you stand for, that is true. I hate to resort to personal attacks, but they will be made the next time you attack me.

    Freddie, I like this bridge.. it has free wifi..

    Mary, I’m not a computer programmer, but I’m sure if you speak with one they would be able to prove the votes casted were counted accurately.

  6. Mary Mancini says:

    “And he’s dismissing Penn State and Science Daily as ‘left wing links.’”

    Well, of course, because we all know that reality, facts, and science have a well-known liberal bias.

  7. Mary Mancini says:

    Ryan, with all your research are you able yet to prove to me that even one vote cast on the touch-screen machines we use now was counted accurately?

  8. Freddie says:

    Ryan is a troll’s troll. If he were here to discuss issues in good faith, it might be one thing. But he’s really just here to be dismissive of everything written. Previously, it was the Obama agenda, but now suddenly he’s a passionate advocate for the status quo of voting equipment in Tennessee.

    And he’s dismissing Penn State and Science Daily as “left wing links.”

    Ryan, why don’t you crawl back under your bridge?

  9. Ryan says:

    There are lots of logical reasons not to use optical scan machines and paper ballots.

    1) People that are handicap have a much harder time with a pencil and paper than a DRE.

    2) It is much slower to scan a few million paper ballots (and much more room for error) than to hit the “get results” button.

    3) There is a much greater chance for fraud with a paper ballot system. Ballots can get “lost”.. or if the bubble isn’t filled in correctly, the vote could not even be counted. Better yet, some human could have to decide voter intent when that situation arises. I can’t imagine trying to pick intent of a voter I didn’t know, from a piece of paper with some dots on it.

    4) A paper ballot takes 3 minutes plus to fill out, a machine takes 1 minute, tops. This contributes to long lines and deters people from voting.

    5) A paper ballot can be ruined. Coffee can be spilled on an entire stack of paper ballots. Oops.. let’s call all these people and have them come back to vote again.

    Marybeth.. I could go on and on.. but I think you get the picture. There are 5 logical reasons for you, and I agree that the system we have now may not be perfect. Paper ballots are not the way to go.

    Now, can you tell me the advantage to paper ballots? I don’t want to hear that they are recountable.. b/c the only reason you would need a recount is if the original count was incorrect. The count will be correct with DREs the first time.. How would you expect a recount to tally the correct total if they couldn’t even get it right the first time.

    I’m not interested in you left wing links, but thank you. I can find enough garbage on the internet on my own.

  10. Marybeth says:

    Ryan, neither you nor your Secretary of State has any way whatsoever of knowing for certain that the Direct Recording Electronic voting machines count correctly. And every fair election should be both audited and recountable when needed.

    If you wish to work on your reading, you might start with the following links:
    http://siis.cse.psu.edu/everest.html
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/08/090810161902.htm
    http://www.nytimes.com/2006/05/12/us/12vote.html?_r=1&ex=114

    I am an elected Inspector of Elections in another state that uses touchscreens in 50 of our 67 counties, and I am working hard to educate other officials to get rid of them. Optical scan systems are recountable, auditable, and cheaper for counties to operate.

    With all the facts in favor of optical scan systems and all evidence against DREs, there simply is no logical reason not to use optical scan and paper ballots, in your state or mine.

  11. Ryan says:

    Mary.. I can’t focus on comprehension when you type in third (or second) grade form.

    I addressed your blog. I pointed out the mistakes, and all you do is ask another question. It isn’t fun to debate someone who doesn’t address the rebuttal.

    We have secure elections. Democrats put the system in, and it has worked without issue since then. The fact that there is no recount is a good thing, not a bad thing. With our system there is no need for recounts. The machine counts correctly.

  12. Mary Mancini says:

    And you, Ryan, need to work on your reading comprehension.

    Now, when you’re finished attacking me, why don’t you address the real issue – why our Secretary of State refuses to give Tennesseans secure and verifiable elections and using poor excused to do so?

  13. Ryan says:

    49 states use the optical scan in some form… not as the main form.

    For someone who calls people liars frequently.. you need to work on your ability to speak the truth.

    From the report.. 50% or so use optical scan, 30% or so use what we use (touch screen machines).. that is hardly 49 states.. don’t you think?

  14. Ryan says:

    Mary, that report is from 2008..

    Embiggen is not a word. You have a real problem with English, don’t you?

Leave a Reply




Looking for something?

Use the form below to search the site:

Still not finding what you're looking for? Drop a comment on a post or contact us so we can take care of it!

Visit our friends!

A few highly recommended friends...