Ohio Voters May Demand Paper Ballots
Ohio Secretary or State Jennifer Brunner announced yesterday that paper ballots must be provided on request.
Poll workers won’t be told to offer the option to voters but must provide a ballot if requested to help “avoid any loss of confidence by voters that their ballot has been accurately cast or recorded,” a directive from Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner said. The paper ballots would be counted by optical scanners at county elections boards.
The Ohio ACLU is against having paper ballots available in the primary, claiming that not having scanners at the local polling locations is against state and federal laws mandating that voters have to know if they made a mistake such as casting too many or too few votes when filling out the ballot.
But Brunner said after consulting with the attorney general’s office, she thinks the ACLU is “flat wrong” and that voters will be adequately educated to avoid unintended over-votes and under-votes — problems that plagued the punch-card voting system that the electronic machines replaced.
Even so, Brunner told The Dispatch that said she is re- thinking her previous recommendation that no ballots be counted in the precincts, after activists argued that would eliminate a way to verify whether the final results are accurate.
The option for having paper ballots is in response to feedback in response the report issued last month by Brunner’s office revealing several critical vulnerabilities in currently available electronic voting systems. Brunner has also recommended that Ohio move to all paper ballots for the November election and has asked that the state legislature Gov. Strickland approve and fund the change.
The executive report is long but very educational and well worth reading, especially the recommendations. The full details are also online as well. California also recently released their own extensive reviews some of which were leveraged for the Ohio study. I’ve only skimmed portions of it so far, but by all reports, it is also very enlightening.
Speaking of California, the Secretary of State Bowen, has announced some very impressive new requirements for the use of electronic voting. This is great stuff, that helps deal with the issues of existing machines while still allowing the democratic process to move forward. Hopefully other states will follow suit.