Tech & society

Paper trail demanded

California’s Secretary of State has ruled that all electronic voting machines used in the Golden State must be able to print a paper ballot. The crux? The requirement doesn’t kick in until 2006. And it is “must be able to” … not just “must.”

Some analysts suggest that this means counties will buy the less-expensive optical scanners. Given that just about every county/state in the country is swimming in red ink, how can this be a bad decision? Oh. Right. It disenfranchises disabled people.

I’m all for creating universal access. That does not equate, in my mind at least, to having touch-screen terminals for every voter. Some of us still use stairs, instead of ramps. The same could be true for voting.

In fact, I propose that every citizen who is concerned about accountability (paper audit trail) in the 2004 election vow today to vote absentee.

Links: Fox (25 Nov); The Columbian (24 Nov); Capital Times (Madison, WI – 22 Nov); SJ Mercury News (22 Nov); Seattle Times (22 Nov); Wired (21 Nov); WiredPen (19 Nov)

By Kathy E. Gill

Digital evangelist, speaker, writer, educator. Transplanted Southerner; teach newbies to ride motorcycles! @kegill

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