No one was surprised when a county elections worker was found guilty this week of absentee ballot fraud and using county computers to add fictitious voters to the rolls. This particular year-long investigation has ensnared ten defendants. The frequency of elections fraud in many different guises renders it almost banal.
What does surprise me is how little concern there is from politicians and the pubic for the integrity of our voting system. Stephen Taylor, Director of the Division of Criminal Justice, said, “We will continue to investigate any allegations of election tampering.” That’s good, but how about also using more preventive measures? And where are our legislators on the matter?
A February 2010 Superior Court ruling improved aspects of our electronic voting machines and ordered further review, but Judge Feinberg refused to require paper copy as backup. Transparency apparently is unnecessary for one of our most fundamental rights – the right to vote. How can citizens be expected to trust the results when there is no paper support for the individual ballots cast? Even without fraud unintended bugs can be in machines.
Senator Nia Gill and Assemblyman Reed Gusciora introduced a bill (S900/A1087) which “requires each voting machine shall produce an individual permanent paper record for each vote cast, which shall be made available for inspection and verification by the voter at the time the vote is cast, and preserved for later use in any manual audit.” Now there’s an idea worth supporting – even worth haranguing legislators to support.
Alice needed her yellow brick road. E.T. followed the Reese’s Pieces. Voters need a paper trail.