In the article headlined “New voting process a step backward” (March 19), the writer queries: “With the technology available, why not use a touch-screen computer? Really, who made this decision?”
I did, along with the other people who showed up at a trade fair graciously hosted by Fredonia Place at 50 Howard St, Fredonia, on Dec. 6, 2006 in cooperation with the Chautauqua County Board of Elections. The fair had been publicized by The OBSERVER on Sunday, Nov. 19, 2006. Everyone who showed up had an opportunity to use the twelve or so different models on exhibit and assess each one with a rating sheet. The Election Commissioners tabulated these results and took them onward to the New York State Board of Elections.
I personally rated most highly the paper-ballot counting model which has become standard throughout New York State since 2009. I voted in Miami-Dade County in November 2000 and subsequently formally trained as a Democratic Party Ballot Recount Inspector. My service was aborted when the Florida Supreme Court stopped the recount just before Thanksgiving Day.
In a subsequent meeting with the Miami-Dade County Board of Elections staff at North Miami Beach City Hall in January 2001, I opposed their enthusiasm for computerized voting machines because of my long experience with computers. My experience is that computers are subject to unpredictable counting errors as well as breakdowns.