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Making Every Ballot Count: U.Va. Professor Reviews History of Voting Machines

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Wilms Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-03-08 12:21 PM
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Making Every Ballot Count: U.Va. Professor Reviews History of Voting Machines

Making Every Ballot Count: U.Va. Professor Reviews History of Voting Machines



By Charlie Feigenoff

October 1, 2008

snip

Viewed historically, this back-to-paper movement is ironic. "The first voting machines were introduced in the 1890s specifically to remove paper from the voting process," said Bryan Pfaffenberger, a historian of technology in the School of Engineering and Applied Science's Department of Science, Technology, and Society.

snip

"Early voting machines were developed precisely because the Australian system failed to reform America's elections and also because the government-printed ballots could be designed to keep illiterate voters away from the polling place," Pfaffenberger said. "The lever voting machine was an American voting system because it harnessed American inventive genius to preserve the American ideal of universal suffrage."

Although lever machines are vulnerable to certain kinds of fraud, exploits are easily prevented by sound election procedures. Perhaps the most significant benefit of lever machines is that they are immune to systemic exploitation, which could affect hundreds of thousands of machines. In sharp contrast to the way Americans talk about voting machines today, users of the lever machines expressed misgivings only occasionally.

The lever voting machine though lacking an independent audit trail had done something today's voting technologies have been unable do: it won the confidence of American voters and election officials.

snip

For Pfaffenberger, the history lesson is that Americans have forgotten the perils of paper ballots.

snip

http://media-newswire.com/release_1075036.html

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