The Tennessee Senate is scheduled to vote today on whether to postpone implementation of voter verifiable paper ballots for Tennessee elections. SB872 weakens and delays the Tennessee Voter Confidence Act which was passed last year to require paper ballots for all Tennessee elections in time for 2010.

PREVIOUSLY:

Republican attack on free and fair elections in Tennessee

Tennessee Republicans do not want voter verifiable voting in 2010

TACIR report on Tennessee elections and voting systems

Verifiable voting: It's the law!

RELATED:

In a joint press release, Common Cause, Gathering to Save Our Democracy, the Tennessee League of Women Voters, VerifiedVoting.org, Voter Action, and Voters Unite.org call for state lawmakers to reject legislation delaying or weakening the Tennessee Voter Confidence Act. Full press release after the jump...

continued...

Civic Organizations Urge Lawmakers to Follow Through on Trustworthy Voting Systems

A coalition of civic organizations is urging the Tennessee General Assembly to stop legislation that would delay the state's move toward verifiable elections. Common Cause, Gathering to Save Our Democracy, the Tennessee League of Women Voters, and the national organizations VerifiedVoting.org, Voter Action, and Voters Unite.org call for state lawmakers to reject House Bill 614 and Senate Bill 872. The full Senate may vote on SB 872 on Monday.

The two bills would either delay implementation of the Tennessee Voter Confidence Act (TVCA), or delete key provisions of the law. The TVCA requires that by 2010, requires all votes be cast in Tennessee elections be cast on paper ballots marked by the voter. The ballots will be read and counted by scanning machines, and after the election, every county will conduct a hand-counted audit of a random sample of precincts to verify the scanners' tallies.

The TVCA was enacted last year after the Tennessee Advisory Commission in Intergovernmental Relations (TACIR) recommended that the state adopt voting technology with a reliable, independent paper record of every vote, and recommended that election officials use those records to conduct routine hand-counted audits of electronic vote tallies. (1)

"The Assembly passed the Voter Confidence Act in order to provide voters with verifiable ballots and election results we can trust," said Bernie Ellis of the citizen group Gathering to Save Our Democracy. "There is no legitimate reason not to implement this law on schedule," said Ellis.

The state has sufficient federal funds on hand to pay for the law’s shift to better equipment. All but two counties in Tennessee now use purely electronic voting machines. In recent years, paperless electronic voting systems have been strongly criticized by leading computer scientists. The TACIR report noted that if Tennessee's electronic voting machines store votes incorrectly because of malfunction or fraud, recounts are "useless." (2)

Tennessee's law is part of a nationwide trend toward paper ballot voting systems. In the 2008 general election, the percentage of votes cast on paper ballots rose significantly, accounting for almost 60% of the total. A majority of the states also now have a provision for post-election hand audits. The TVCA requires voter-marked paper ballots rather than cash-register type “paper trail” printouts, because paper ballots are more durable, and because many voters fail to check secondary printouts. Since 2006, no states have added paper-trail printers to electronic voting machines.

"Everything depends on the ability of the citizenry to have that confidence their votes are being counted accurately. It's unconscionable to delay," said VerifiedVoting.org president Pamela Smith.

(1)"Trust But Verify," the 2007 TACIR Staff Report.

(2) 2TACIR report, page 21.

279
like
gonzone's picture

hey

How they gonna steal elections otherwise?
And remember, IOKIYAR!

"If ignorance is bliss, why aren't more people happy?"

Rich's picture

So, you're very concerned

So, you're very concerned about making sure that all the votes are tallied correctly, but you are absolutely opposed to making sure that the votes were cast legally.

How quaint.

WhitesCreek's picture

How wrong

Let's just do both, shall we?

metulj's picture

Now there's some

Now there's some logic....

True happiness is knowing you are a hypocrite. -- Ivor Cutler

Seppuku is in a way the ultimate awful libertarian act -- Frank Popper

Factchecker's picture

Position papers from Heritage Foundation and AEI aren't proof

So, you're very concerned about making sure that all the votes are tallied correctly, but you are absolutely opposed to making sure that the votes were cast legally.

There's a lot of known problems with the former. The latter not so much.

EleanorH's picture

Current machines do not allow for recount of vote

How do you know the vote is reported correctly when you can't recount the vote and can't audit the vote? You don't -- and sometimes it isn't.

In South Carolina in the 2010 General Election the ES&S iVotronics, used in many Tennessee counties, failed to record a couple of thousand votes. See (link...) and (link...)

And there's one more reason everybody should move to paper ballots: COST. A recent study in Maryland showed that paper ballots with precinct-based scanner is much cheaper to use than DREs. See:
(link...)

If you want to know your votes were counted correctly you need to stop using DREs.

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