The machines that will count ballots on election day Tuesday aren’t your grandparents’ voting machines. No punch cards. No levers to pull. Those went the way of the dinosaur after the 2000 election 14 years ago, when punch card voting resulted in the “hanging chad, dimpled chad” controversy in Florida, invalidated a couple million ballots, and delayed the outcome of the presidential election as recounts and courts sorted it all out. When the smoke cleared, Republican George W. Bush claimed Florida’s electoral votes and the presidency even though Democrat Al Gore won the nation’s popular vote. What came after that was the Help America Vote Act of 2002, which in part required states to replace punch card voting with updated electronic voting machines built to federal standards. Congress, so far, has appropriated $3.8 billion to assist states with the upgrades. The updated optical scan machines were first used in Oakland County in 2005.
… In a September report, the Congressional Research Service notes that most jurisdictions use two types of voting machines: Optical scan like the M100, which still allows for manual auditing of paper ballots, and direct response electronic, or DRE systems, which uses a touch screen to record votes, and one is required per polling place to ensure voting accessibility.
Critics of electronic voting question whether the software is secure, especially for direct electronic voting machines. The Congressional Research Service notes that “DRE systems can provide high usability for voters and efficiency for vote counting, but many believe that they pose a greater security risk than optical scan systems.”
Full Article: Voting machines reaching end of useful life.