A selection of our reader comments is provided below. While not all of the comments are as on point as others, we believe many of our readers' comments add perspective and flavor to our core question"Do electronic voting machines improve the voting process?" and this site.
We posted these pro, con, and not clearly pro or con comments in the approximate ratio that we received them. (For example, if 60% of the responses received are "pro," then about 60% of the responses posted below would be "pro").
The comments are arranged in reverse chronological order within each category. We sometimes edit comments for brevity, clarity, and spelling. We may also remove comments posted when we find better comments covering the same issues or for other good reasons. To preserve confidentiality, only the writer's first name is noted, unless he/she has waived confidentiality. Respondents are generally notified when we add their comments to this section.
PRO Electronic Voting Machines
CON Electronic Voting Machines
[No comment as of Aug. 26, 2009]
"Transparency from beginning to end should be the standard and the guiding star the defines the mechanisms of any voting process. Transparency for the average literate American voter. Keeping transparency as the overarching priority eliminates virtually all electromechanical and computer based systems. It remains that paper ballots marked by the voter, counted at the precinct level on the day of the election, and followed with a zealous chain of custody is the system of voting that the average American can participate in and understand from beginning to end. Computers are esoteric with only a handful of people having any true understanding of their hard and software. Computers and software are forever contradictory to the concept of transparency. Keep it simple stupid, vote on paper and make it federal law that vote manipulation is a felony that will have you spending the rest of your life in a federal prison. Bottom line, always hold any voting system up against the transparency standard. Simple is almost always better, and in the case of the voting process it is inviolate." James Aug. 6, 2008
"I do not trust the electronic voting machines. I believe the individual ballots are more correct with less chance of corruption" Ricky Nov. 9, 2006
"This is a very interesting site. I was extremely distressed that the folks speaking "PRO" on the issue of Electronic Voting Machine accuracy did not really answer the question. Sure, the machines can prevent "hanging chads" and such things as over-votes and under-votes, but....... they did not speak to the issue of whether or not the votes are actually recorded (and thus tabulated) as each voter intended. To me, that is truly what "accuracy" means. Would it do any good to go back to the people who responded "PRO" on the accuracy of the electronic voting machines and ask them to speak to whether or not the machines can be trusted to ACCURATELY record and count the votes? When I worked for an accountant years ago, we always created a paper trail when using the calculator. I can't imagine an accountant (especially dealing with the IRS) getting away with saying "Just trust me" without having the documentation to back up their figures." Regina Aug. 24, 2006
NOT CLEARLY PRO OR CON Electronic Voting Machines
"I agree that the old voting machines should be improved on, but why can't they leave a paper trail? My suggestion: give every candidate a UPC code. Have the voter choose the sticker with the code for their candidate, affix it to a card in the appropriate box and have a scanner scan the cards. The counts could be immediate, but if there were any question, we could always retrieve the cards. The stickers could be color coded to avoided placing a candidate in the wrong box. For example, all presidential candidates have green stickers and your choice goes in the green box on your card, all orange stickers go in the orange box and are for senator, purple for your congressman, etc (avoiding red and blue). The UPC codes could contain information as to the year, voting district, etc. and then a code specific to the candidate. Would this really be so hard? It would be like Voter Bingo!" Jennifer Nov. 9, 2006
"Do the ends justify the means? It seems that politicians believe that holding on to their office justifies any means of winning. I therefore do not trust any voting process over which they exert control." Kirk Aug. 9, 2006