Friday, March 07, 2008

Six Months Makes All The Difference for Brunner

Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner committed the ultimate flip-flop in just six months' time. The flip-flop in question? Her decision to completely scrap electronic voting machines in certain Ohio counties and use optical scanning equipment. The Associated Press is reporting that they obtained a letter dated June 13, 2007 that was sent to Congress. In that letter, Brunner claimed that states, including Ohio, were just becoming comfortable with the 2002 Help America Vote Act (HAVA), and that Congress (at that time) should not change how voters use electronic voting machines. Brunner said she had no comment at the moment but was preparing a response for later today.

And what about the paper ballot shortages in Cleveland and elsewhere around the state that led the Obama campaign to take court action to keep certain precincts open? That problem exposed the real problem of paper ballots and a stronger turnout than expected can send County Election Boards scrambling to find extra ballots for voters.

And apparently many Ohio voters who used the electronic voting machines this past Tuesday in Ohio's primary election are largely in disagreement with Brunner's June 2007 opinion. Brunner demanded that Ohio counties that were still using the electronic equipment for the primary make paper ballots available to voters. And in those counties, voters were not very concerned with conspiracy theories of hackers changing their votes. Ultimately, a very small percentage of voters in those Ohio counties that used the electronic voting machines requested paper ballots. It appears Ohio voters are comfortable with electronic voting, despite Brunner's absurd conspiracy theories. This reaction to electronic voting seems to contradict the assertion in Brunner's December 2007 report on electronic voting in Ohio that the possible problems with the voting machines in question caused a lack of trust and confidence in Ohio's electoral process. Based on the primary this past Tuesday, that assertion is not only unfounded but is a prime example of partisan hyperbole and a fabricated claim used to bolster Brunner's pre-determined to scrap electronic voting in Ohio altogether.

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Blogger Conrad said...

Voter acceptance does not mean that an electronic voting system is necessarily secure and trustworthy. Have you read the full December 2008 reports on Ohio's voting systems? If not, I recommend taking the necessary time to read them carefully. You may find that they provide ample support for Secretary of State Brunner's changed position.

Blogger Brian G. said...

I did read the full report.

The first few pages are devoted to arguments as to why Ohioans should be concerned with electronic voting machines but no real evidence that they are or that public confidence in Ohio's electoral process has suffered due to the use of Diebold machines. That's my specific point and it goes unrefuted in that Project Everest witchhunt.

As for the specifics of the entire report, the companies hired to probe the systems were in a controlled environment poll workers or monitoring. They were able to throw the kitchen sink at the systems and see what stuck.

With that said, more security measures could and should be taken to safeguard the election data but that does not mean scrapping electronic voting machines entirely.


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