Sheriff race decided by 1 vote

They’re recounting absentee ballots but regular votes are touchscreen with no paper trail so there’s nothing to recount.

If the result holds then Whitehorm will be the county’s first African American sheriff.

I wish states would put a stop to this method. It helps stoke conspiracy theories.

Touchscreen voting is fine. Generate a paper printout so people can verify their votes were correctly recorded, and temporarily store the paper printouts in case verification is needed or if there are suspected tampering issues


However, there have been enough documented issues with miscalibrated touch screens that cause me to be a strong believer that, absent special cases for accessibility needs, voting should be done by making marks on a piece of paper. Those votes can be tabulated via optical scanning, but when there’s a need to audit or if there’s a question about the accuracy of that tabulation, the hardcopy exists to permit counting by hand.


Doing touchscreen with a paper printout gives a check against miscalibrated touch screens: voters can double check their vote was recorded correctly, and there is a paper record of their vote.


That’s what we used to have. Touchscreen with a confirmation screen at the end. Then when you hit the button to accept, it would print on a paper roll (kind of like receipt paper that wasn’t torn off each time) over to the right. Now we’re back to bubble sheets that we feed into machines ourselves. Either are fine with me. The bubble sheets are probably easier to deal with in the case of a recount though.

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The questions to ask are:

  1. How many voters will double check their votes?
  2. If a touchscreen is found to be miscalibrated, what are the implications to all the voters still in line at the voting place, particularly at polling places/elections where there are long lines?
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Our touchscreen provides a regular 8x11 paper printout of the vote, which the voter checks to confirm then feeds into a scanner that records the vote and deposits the ballots into a secured receptacle

It’s part of the process and instructions

Will some people fail to follow instructions? Yes, always. Some will not fill in bubbles correctly/completely or leave stray pencil marks on the paper ballot that cause errors. Those that don’t bubble correctly probably won’t ever know their ballot had problems.

You can request a new ballot after printing if errors are found, but once you deposit it in the scanner your ballot has been cast.

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The first time I voted on a touch screen, there was a ~ 50 year old woman who knew she had voted for the wrong candidate but didn’t know how to change her vote. I agree that all forms of voting have some level of user error, but spend enough time with my aunt and others of her generation to think that touch screen voting will have a higher error rate than paper ballots.

Louisiana passed a law a year or two ago to move to electronic with a paper trail, and it was supposed to be implemented by now, but of course the process of selecting new machines has been fraught with politics so it still hasn’t happened.

Obviously people being idiots is a point of failure in any mode of voting. However, I believe that the “check and see what the machine recorded” process for a good touchscreen system is an added step that increases the risk of error.

And, of course, there are a few touchscreen voting machine designs that either just display a confirmation screen or print a receipt, but the “official” printed vote (if there is one…but I think most jurisdictions have moved away from those) is not presented to the voter for review and submission, introducing another potential source of error.

And then there’s still my other major objection to the touchscreen machines – the potential that a malfunctioning machine will obstruct votes being cast. While I’m sure there could be ways for poll workers to recover from simple failures…the poll workers in most of the places I’ve physically voted (when not voting absentee) generally belong to a demographic that has a stereotype of being less technically savvy.

I agree that with a paper ballot, there is an increased chance of mis-voting as compared to a properly-functioning electronic voting device …but most of those innocent mis-votes can be resolved if/when a hand-coiunt of ballots occurs. Optical reading of paper ballots is not foolproof either, but the failure of an optical scanner doesn’t impede the act of voting, and the ability to examine a paper ballot with (usually) clear evidence of the voter’s intent to double-check automated vote tabulation provides several avenues to recover from such an error…even if that recovery requires hand-counting the paper ballots.

This was the premise of the movie Man of the Year with Robin Williams, wherein he plays a political satirist who “campaigns” as a protest. There is a faulty program in use in some (but not all) states leading to votes being mis-tabulated by the program. Resulting in Williams’ character’s election.

I’ve never understood why voting booths don’t have a publicly verifiable paper trail.

Example: I vote. The government knows my SS is 1234 and I voted for RFK Jr. and everything downballot. This is logged.

I get a slip of paper with a code. 924SKG25. The government knows code 924SKG25 belongs to SS 1234.

I can leave this slip and it’s automatically disposed of before I leave the booth. Or I can take it, go online and enter in, “What vote did this register as?” and it will tell me. There would be a phone number and email, “Does this vote look incorrect? Please contact us at:” Abuse of this for reporting every Trump or Biden vote results in possible fines and jail time.

At no point will vote verification return a voter name or SS. It is a randomly generated, one-time code intended for each individual to verify. Anybody can find a discarded code and claim it’s theirs, this means no more than just saying you voted for whoever that slip did.