The New York Times has just published an article detailing problems and frustrations surrounding the use of new electronic voting machines.
Any time a new technology is introduced there is going to be a learning curve, but many of the problems with the software and machines could and should have been easily detected and solved a long time ago.
The machines may be new, but the technology isn't. There is no excuse for problems like this:
After waiting half an hour or so, Mr. Rojas said, he fed his form into the machine, which informed him that his vote had been counted. The "public count" number increased by one. But then the screen announced a "system error" and instructed Mr. Rojas, 44, a chemistry professor at Barnard College, to contact a poll worker.
The poll worker told Mr. Rojas not to worry; every ballot was generating the "system error."
Doesn't inspire a lot of confidence, does it? An earnest poll worker probably isn't sufficiently trained to recognize errors with electronic scanners or the software that's driving them. If the programmer coded for an exception, something is wrong. It may be benign, but I wouldn't be reassured by being told that every ballot is generating an error.
Some voters were unhappy about having to give the completed ballot to election workers running the scanning device. "That’s not a secret ballot at that point," said Paul Randour, 75, a retired lawyer who voted on East 79th Street in Manhattan. He insisted on inserting his ballot into the machine himself.
I agree with Mr. Randour. I voted this morning in my small Wisconsin village using a "complete the arrow" paper ballot that is scanned and counted electronically. There was a poll worker sitting next to the machine and I felt a little uncomfortable just having him watch me insert the ballot. It would have been obvious who I voted for if he had wanted to look down at my ballot. No way would I hand it to him and have him feed it into the machine.
I sincerely hope the incidents detailed are isolated, but it's very disheartening to read these stories every time electronic voting is introduced somewhere.
P.S. Last week I had toyed with the idea of crossing party lines in the primary to help select weaker Republicans. I decided not to, especially after a canvasser came to my door over the weekend and reminded me how important it was to GOTV, even if the Democratic primary races were mostly a formality. I voted on the Democratic side of the ballot, and I feel good. Like I knew that I would.