Recount won’t actually count ballots

Update: Roanoke Times agrees <read>

Letter to the editor in Washington Post <read>, well said. Yes Virginia, nutmeg state recounts don’t involve much actual counting either.

Not Quite a Full Recount in Virginia

Sunday, November 30, 2008;

Virginians will have a recount in the 5th Congressional District race [Metro, Nov. 25] — or will they?

As the article noted, optical-scan ballots will be run through the voting machine again. For direct-recording electronic voting (most commonly touch-screen) machines, officials will recalculate the results from the totals printed out on Election Day. Only hand-marked paper ballots will be physically recounted.

Voters should be surprised and disappointed that a recount won’t actually count ballots, especially since nationwide evidence shows that the direct-recording electronic voting machines are inaccurate and insecure. For instance, the computer systems that run the lottery are subject to tighter controls for accuracy than are electronic voting machines.

Also, unlike most states, Virginia doesn’t do any sort of audit of the machines to make sure they’re counting correctly. In fact, in most cases it’s illegal to conduct an audit. This isn’t the fault of the local elections board or registrars, but rather of the General Assembly, which has failed to pass needed reforms of Virginia’s archaic election laws.

JEREMY EPSTEIN
Co-Founder
Verifiable Voting Coalition of Virginia

Recent examples highlighting the risks of machine recounting <read>

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