Friday, September 01, 2006

More on Voting Machines

As we mentioned, we REALLY don't like full-face DREs. Our usability study shows that voters find these machines more difficult to use and make more errors when they use them. The evidence is overwhelming and quite stark: many more races get missed when these machines are used. We came to this conclusion using the research of Dr. David Kimball, the pre-eminent political scientist and usability expert on this issue, and after looking at his data on several thousand counties over six years of elections.

That's why we found the comments of Robert Nothstein, county commissioner in Monroe County, PA, so unfathomable:

''There's studies on everything this day and age, and we don't buy all the studies that come across the table.''

Um, we suppose there's truth in the fact that not all studies are equal, but does that mean it's okay to ignore facts and just pick the voting machine that comes in the nicest color?

This doesn't mean that full-face DREs should be automatically rejected by jurisdictions in New York. There's a limited choice to be made, because the State Board foolishly decided it wouldn't certify "scrolling" DREs that operate more like ATM machines, and present one race at a time. And jurisdictions must consider many factors when choosing voting machines -- like how secure they are, how accessible they are to the disabled, and how much they cost.

But we don't yet have the answers to these questions. So why have some election officials already made up their minds about picking full face DREs? These machines haven't even been certified yet -- there are no bids, so we don't even know how much things will cost.

Categories: General, Voting

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