Rochester Democrat and Chronicle

May 29, 2005


... electronics are best choice


Electronic voting machines are the best choice for New York.



(May 29, 2005) The Monroe County Board of Elections is smart not to wait around for the state Legislature to act on HAVA.


Commissioners Thomas Ferrarese and Peter Quinn already have started evaluating the likely options for counties in New York an optical scan machine and an electronic system. The electronic machine is the best choice.


The Editorial Board tested versions of both systems designed by Sequoia Voting Systems, the company that manufactured the lever machines most New Yorkers currently use.


The electronic version is easier by far. The ballot is set up exactly like the old lever machines, except the lever is replaced with a button that illuminates when the voter makes a choice. The voter then can examine a printout of selections before the vote is recorded. That record is saved for recounts.


Studies have shown that there is much more opportunity for error with the optical scan system, which requires voters to fill in bubbles or connect arrows, like on a standardized test.


People concerned with hacking should know that the electronic machines are fortified with safeguards accepted by the federal government. People still concerned with hacking ought to remember that no system is perfectly safe. An expert mechanic with a little copper wiring could tamper with the voting mechanisms in the lever machines.


Sequoia's electronic machines, which are manufactured in New York and include parts from New York vendors (a bonus for the economy), have been used in Saratoga County and in New Jersey for years without problems. They should be adopted by Monroe and surrounding counties, at the least.


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