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The local NBC affiliate here in Cleveland (WKYC) has just reported on the evening news that Cuyahoga County Commissioners are looking at the possibility of dumping electronic voting machines.  The November 7 election was the first and only time they've been used.

Above and beyond the money needed to purchase them, it cost the county more than $17 million to train workers, techs, and others involved in the Nov. election to use or troubleshoot the machines.  Also included in that figure are replacement machines and certain parts (unspecified.)

County Commissioner Jimmy DiMora, also the county Democratic Chair, said that "a lemon, is a lemon, is a lemon."  Despite an estimated 6300 machines available county-wide, the major complaint was, again, long lines and confusion inside the polling booth. An unamed consultant said that lines would be worse in the presidential election in '08.

Optical scanning, considered more effective in high voter turnouts, is being considered. County Commissioner Peter Lawson Jones says mail in voting and increased early voting will also be on the table.

County Commissioners are aware of the costs involved in implementing a new system and that taxpayers have already paid for one new system.  They fear the possibility of making cuts to human services programs.

A decision is expected by June '07.

My first diary - be gentle?

Originally posted to Ninepatch on Wed Nov 29, 2006 at 03:34 PM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Pay it forward (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Margot, bronte17, Ninepatch

    In this case the Cuyahoga County Commissioners have said they may try to sell these machines to another (gullible) county somewhere else in the country. I'm not laughing since it may be my county.

    You are starting to disturb my calm.

    by OHdog on Wed Nov 29, 2006 at 03:38:09 PM PST

  •  Are they Diebold or another manufacturer? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ninepatch

    Ask not for whom the bell tolls -- it tolls for thee --John Donne

    by ohiolibrarian on Wed Nov 29, 2006 at 03:41:58 PM PST

    •  Diebold (0+ / 0-)

      Here's the information sheet posted at the BoE site:

      Electronic Voting

      Don't you just love the fact that Diebold is Ohio based means we'd get better support and service?  In a pig's eye we did.

      This information is obviously pre-November.  I haven't seen anything current.

      Senator-elect Sherrod Brown of Ohio ~~ Governor-elect Ted Strickland of Ohio

      by Ninepatch on Wed Nov 29, 2006 at 04:07:53 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Go with OpTech (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    clyde, Margot, ybruti, Ninepatch

    Optical scanning equipment should be the standard throughout the country. You have a paper ballot that you mark with a pen. The ballot is, at some point fed through a machine. If there is a problem reading a ballot, you can look at it and determine the voter's intent. If there are issues about an accurate count, you can hand-count it. The only issues is possibly running our of ballots or the capacity of the machin and/or ballot box. Still, these are minor compared to dropped votes. But we can't do that. God forbid we have a simple solution toward making dmeocracy work.

    You're one microscopic cog in his catastrophic plan designed and directed by his red right hand

    by RandyMI on Wed Nov 29, 2006 at 03:46:20 PM PST

  •  Anyone know Italian? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ninepatch

    I saw a translation of the news that Italy has dropped electronic voting. But since I don't know Italian, I can't exactly go hunting the news sites for confirmation.

  •  good news - I hope they decide to drop it. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ninepatch

    Here in Oregon, we vote by mail.  It seems to work well, and I love it, because I can take my time and really think about my choices.

    Congrats on your first diary - I thought it was good.

  •  Excellent News--and Necessary (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ninepatch

    Cuyahoga County commissioned an impartial study of the paper trails produced in its May 2006 primary election.  Fully 10 percent of them were not readable for one reason or another.

    That is a HUGE problem, since under Ohio law those paper trails are the official ballot.  If there had been a close Senate or Governor's race this year, the recount would have been a disaster.

    What Cuyahoga discovered is that electonic voting is not ready for prime time--and may never be.

    Optical scans are the way to go.

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