It’s been a while since concerns about the reliability of voting machines made news. It was a hot topic in the early 2000s, as worries over flimsy punchcard ballots (Remember the hanging chads?) gave way to concern about the reliability of electronic voting machines.
Electronic voting machines are the standard these days, but the lingering questions about reliability bubbled back to the surface locally this week with questions over a recent contest in Fairfield.
The race for Democratic executive committee featured Cindy and Ernie Zirkle against Vivian and Mark Henry. The Zirkles lost, according to the official tally, with Cindy getting 10 votes and Ernie a mere 9. Oddly, 28 Fairfield residents have signed affidavits declaring that they cast votes for the Zirkles.
The Sequoia AVC Advantage Direct-Recording Electronic Voting Machine was not operating properly, according to a petition filed by the Zirkles’ attorney.
Why not check the results against a paper trail? There is none with this system. No paper ballot or receipt is produced to verify that a vote was actually tallied.
After years of hand-wringing about the reliability of electronic voting systems, New Jersey still does not mandate paper backups for these machines.
As a result, we are left to wonder: If this one county committee vote tally was screwed up — and that seems to be the case — how many other elections are called into question? Is this a matter of one faulty machine or something more widespread?
We hope this will turn out to be a flaw in this one machine, but if that cannot be verified, then this incident should prompt a review of every Sequoia machine in operation in Cumberland County and statewide.
Full Article: Voting machine fears hit home in Cumberland County | NJ.com.