Ten years ago, West Lafayette artist Sandy Daniel walked into the White Horse Christian Center to vote in the primary election and had an unsettling encounter with what was supposed to be a major advance in voting technology — the touch-screen ballot. After choosing her favored candidates, a list that included her husband and Republican circuit court judge candidate Don Daniel, she touched the screen to finalize her choices and an “error” message appeared. Not knowing whether her vote counted or not, she pressed election officials for an explanation. An hour later, they tried to reassure her, saying the number of votes tallied at the poll matched the number of people who had signed in to vote and that her vote had been counted. A service technician later attributed the error to an unknown “hardware problem.” Thinking back to the incident, Daniels says she’s put it all behind her. Her husband went on to win the primary and general election and continues to hold the judicial post.
“It was new territory then,” she said. “It was a new way of doing things, and maybe we needed a little more experience behind us. “I still feel pretty confident in the system. Since 2002, I don’t recall having any glitches. I think it is working fine. I’ve never worried that my vote wouldn’t be counted.” But around the country, a growing number of election officials, observers and reform groups are expressing concern about systems such as Tippecanoe County’s that will be used in the Nov. 6 general election.
A national report jointly released in July by Verified Voting, the Rutgers Law School Constitutional Litigation Clinic and Common Cause gave Indiana a grade of “needs improvement” when it comes to election readiness because of continued reliance on electronic voting machines that leave no paper trail of voter-verified ballots that can be used for recounts in close elections and audits of electronic results.