I’m not one of those guys who thinks that someone could get away with maliciously swinging an election by monkeying with electronic voting results. This isn’t because I believe it can’t happen. It’s because I believe that it would be really hard for someone to keep it a secret.
Nope. I’m not worried about the conspiracy theory kind of crap. I’m worried about something far, far simpler.
Here’s why I believe we need paper trails on our voting machines:
People screw up.
Check out THIS STORY (from CNN) about a computer technician in Alaska who accidentally deleted nine months worth of data concerning the Alaska Permanent Fund. The APF is a fund that distributes oil revenues to the citizens of the state. For the rest of us, this would be like the IRS accidentally deleting all of the records for every person’s tax refund in your state.
Nine months worth of information concerning the yearly payout from the Alaska Permanent Fund was gone: some 800,000 electronic images that had been painstakingly scanned into the system months earlier, the 2006 paper applications that people had either mailed in or filed over the counter, and supporting documentation such as birth certificates and proof of residence.
And the only backup was the paperwork itself — stored in more than 300 cardboard boxes.
According to this article, it cost over $220,000 in overtime and contractor fees to recreate the data from the paper record. Imagine what the cost would have been if the paper didn’t exist at all. What would your options even be?
Think … What would it cost to have a “do over” election?