The Saratogian





Voting machines need an immediate upgrade to optical 


The lever voting machine should become a thing of the past, the League of Women Voters of New York contends.


The group makes a good point.


For voting that is accurate, easy, accountable and cost-effective, state of the art machines use optical scanners.


It's the way of the future, and the way the Legislature should go in deciding what kind of voting machines ought to be used in New York.


The Legislature has been leaning toward touch-screen voting, which the League notes can be more expensive and easier to alter.


In contrast, with optical scanners, votes are marked by hand or with an accessible ballot marking device and then inserted into an optical scanner, to be counted at the polling place at the end of the voting period.


Optical scanners are used in 25 percent of all precincts in the United States. The paper ballots produce a permanent paper record that can be manually audited.


Change can't happen overnight, because it takes money and time to convert to new, high-tech machines. But as the Legislature considers alternatives to levers, it ought to be looking at optical scanners.


The voter services chairwoman of the Saratoga County chapter of the League of Women Voters sums it up this way: 'It is important to those who have studied the voting machines that they pass the SARA test -- secure, accurate, recountable, accessible. The optical-scan voting machine passes this test.'


 ŠThe Saratogian 2005




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