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:
“San 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 technology.’
The 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.”Mar. 23, 2004 - Office of the San Bernardino County, California Registrar of Voters
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:
“Americans 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…
InfoSENTRY 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%…
‘This 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.'”Feb. 4, 2006 - InfoSENTRY Services, Inc.
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:
“Four 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…
As 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.”Mar. 10, 2005 - Carl Vinson Institute of Government at the University of Georgia
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.”2003 - Benjamin Bederson, PhD
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.”Sep. 9, 2004 - Thad Hall, PhD R. Michael Alvarez, PhD
Vote TrustUSA posted an article on their website on July 18, 2006 titled “Human or Machine Error: What’s the Truth?” which stated:
“Should 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.”July 18, 2006 - Vote TrustUSA
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:
“Ziyadh 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…
Craig 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 haven’t.'”2005 - VotersUnite!