Review of midterm election offers assurance that electronic vote counts are reliable, but lawmakers show limited interest in deploying the technology statewide. New Jersey’s first pilot tests of voting machines that provide a way to verify results proved successful in the last election, and now some officials are looking forward to expanding testing later. Typically, elections with state Assembly seats topping the ticket — like this coming fall — have low turnouts and so make this an ideal time to roll out new machines. These machines include a paper ballot alongside an electronic screen which both allows voters to check that their choices were properly marked and keeps a paper trail for the elections board. Fewer people casting ballots should help reduce the wait some may experience as voters who may be confused by the new technology take more time on the machine.
But it’s unclear how quickly New Jersey may move to join the vast majority of states that require all voting machines to have a voter-verified paper trail. The state is usingof a $10 million federal grant to fund the small-scale pilots in Union, Gloucester and Essex counties. And several bills that would push New Jersey closer to what outside groups consider the safest voting machines continue to flounder in the Legislature.
County and state officials were pleased, however, with New Jersey’s small step, after they conducted post-election reviews that included audits to ensure voters’ choices were counted properly.