Do Voters Have Confidence That Electronic Voting Machines Record Votes Accurately?
The Office of the San Bernardino County (California) Registrar of Voters stated in the results of the "Election Day Survey," Mar. 23, 2004 regarding electronic voting machines used in the Mar. 2004 Primary Election:
Bernardino County uses the Sequoia 'Edge' voting system. Nearly 70% of
the county's voters participated in the survey that measured voter
confidence, ease of use, and overall acceptance. 'The voters of San
Bernardino County overwhelmingly approve of the new electronic voting
system,' said Mr. Konopasek [County Registrar of Voters]. 'This type of
empirical evidence is very important in the current environment in
which many are appealing to 'a lack of confidence' to discredit this
results show that... 91.8% of the county's voters are extremely
confident or confident that their 'vote was recorded correctly,' and
96.7% of voters responded that this voting system was much better or
better than other voting systems they have used."
InfoSENTRY Services, Inc., an independent information technology services firm, explained the results of its "2006 National Opinion Survey on Trust in Voting Systems" in a Feb. 4, 2006 news release:
have higher trust in the confidentiality and accuracy of computerized
voting systems, commonly known as Direct Recording Electronic (DRE) and
'touchscreen' systems, than in other voting technologies being widely
considered as states and counties rush to comply with the Help America
Vote Act (HAVA) of 2002...
calculated these positive trust scores by adding the results of
respondents who selected a '4' or '5' on the five-point scale [1 means
very low trust and 5 means very high trust]. For DREs, the 2004
Positive Trust Score was 68%, the 2005 Positive Trust Score was 62%,
and the 2006 Positive Trust Score is 68%...
year's results show a change back to a higher trust rating for the
DREs, which is consistent with the results from 2004. After all the
controversy and heated rhetoric by voting interest groups, American
opinion on this issue is statistically back where it was in 2004 with a
higher trust rating in the confidentiality and accuracy of the
computerized voting systems.'"
The Carl Vinson Institute for Government at the University of Georgia stated in the Mar. 10, 2005 results report of the "Peach State Poll: Georgians' Attitudes About the 2004 Election Process and the Election System in General" to assess the confidence of Georgia voters toward electronic voting systems:
years after the 2000 presidential election voting debacle, Georgians
are voting with a new [statewide electronic voting] system, and the
public's confidence in the election system is greater than it was
following the 2000 election... Almost 9 in 10 say that they are either
very confident (64 percent) or somewhat confident (25 percent) that
their vote was counted accurately in the 2004 election...
was true after the 2000 election, whites are much more confident than
nonwhites that their votes were counted accurately in the 2004
election. While 96 percent of all whites voting in election 2004 are
either very confident (76 percent) or somewhat confident (20 percent)
that their vote was accurately counted, only 74 percent of nonwhites
are that confident."
Benjamin Bederson, PhD, Director of Human-Computer Interaction Laboratory at the University of Maryland, explained in their 2003 paper "Electronic Voting System Usability Issues," published in CHI Letters:
"When asked to report whether they trusted that the system recorded the votes they intended to cast... individuals who use computers frequently reported having less trust in the new voting systems than did others. This result probably stems from their greater awareness of the limitation of computer technology, exposure to computer 'crashes,' familiarity with viruses, and other challenges facing the computer industry."
Thad E. Hall, PhD, Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Utah, and R. Michael Alvarez, PhD, Professor of Political Science, California Institute of Technology (Caltech), released "American Attitudes About Electronic Voting: Results of a National Survey" on Sep. 9, 2004, in which they stated:
"A plurality of registered voters in our sample (43%) also agreed with a statement that electronic voting equipment is prone to unintentional glitches, while 39% agreed (27% disagreed) that electronic voting systems are more accurate [than other types of voting systems] and 38% agreed (with 28% in disagreement) that electronic voting increases the potential for fraud...
Independents appear more convinced about the accuracy of electronic voting systems than are partisans; almost 45% of independents agreed with the statement that electronic voting systems are more accurate, while about 36% of Democrats or Republicans agreed with the statement."
Vote TrustUSA posted an article on their website on July 18, 2006 titled "Human or Machine Error: What's the Truth?" which stated:
the voter have confidence and trust in our present [electronic] voting
systems and the people who, on a national level, are supposed to ensure
we can have confidence and trust? Not until they give us a reason to
trust and not until we can have confidence that our voting systems are
transparent, accurate and trouble-free. We are not there now. In fact,
we are not even close to that trust and confidence... It's time to for
them to stop trying to convince the voters to 'trust and have
confidence' and start realizing that accurate and reliable voting
machines are the only path to 'trust and confidence' in elections."
VotersUnite! offered the following personal accounts in their 2005 article "Diebold in the News - A Partial List of Documented Failures," available on the organization's website:
Sabir said she's concerned the touch-screen machine didn't properly
record her vote. The summary page, which allows voters to review their
choices before casting their ballots, failed to show some of her
choices and showed incorrect choices for others, Sabir said. Poll
workers could not fix the problem, she said. 'That's not very
reassuring," said Sabir of DeKalb County [Georgia], who was voting for
the first time on the machines...
Kidd of Buckhead said he voted last week as part of the state's advance
voting program, which allows people to cast ballots during a five-day
period before an election. Kidd said on Tuesday he went to his precinct
to make sure his vote had been recorded. Poll workers said they had no
record of his vote and advised him to cast another ballot, Kidd said.
'I find that a little distressing,' said Kidd. 'I like the concept of
advance voting, but if this is a common thing, you could have hundreds
or thousands of people who think they voted but they actually