Lou Dobbs Segment On NJ Ruling And E-Voting

On the occasion of the NJ ruling yesterday, Lou Dobbs interviewed the lawyer involved, Penny Venetis, and two voting advocates, David Dill and John Bonifaz. Full transcript <read>

Voting segment:

KITTY PILGRIM, CNN NEWS CORRESPONDENT (voice over): A victory for voters. In Trenton, New Jersey, today, a court ruled that accuracy tests on paperless, electronic voting machines can be made public. The voting machine company, Sequoia, argued the information was a trade secret.

PENNY VENETIS, ATTORNEY: The courts had to step in to say it’s time now to examine the voting machines to determine whether or not they count votes accurately.

PILGRIM: After repeated electronic voting failures, 28 states are returning to paper ballots, according to an activist group who wants a return to paper ballots. According to that group, in this year’s presidential election, 61 percent of voters will be using paper ballot systems, up from 35 percent in 2004. But close to 20 states are still using electronic voting machines without a paper trail for the upcoming presidential election. Pennsylvania, Ohio, Colorado are potential trouble spots. One of the most problem states has switched back to paper ballots.

DAVID DILL, VERIFIED VOTING.ORG: For the longest time, Florida was dominated by electronic voting, but they made a sudden transition last year when they passed a law requiring paper ballots and it’s going to be a big success story. I think that Florida is likely not to be the embarrassment of the 2008 election.

PILGRIM: The system of choice these days, optical scan machines, a paper ballot is scanned by an electronic device and then kept in case a recount is needed.

JOHN BONIFAZ, VOTERACTION.ORG: Only a paper ballot based system will give people the confidence there is transparency and accountability with the process and that the process can be recounted or audited, which is critical for ensuring the integrity of the elections.

PILGRIM: Repeated tests by prominent universities has shown machines without a paper trail cannot be counted accurately.


Now, while this is a victory in New Jersey today, and the public will have access to the accuracy testing of voting machines, New Jersey will not have paper ballots in time for the upcoming presidential election — Lou.

DOBBS: Well, I think we’ve also got to remind everybody that, when we saw the fellow looking at the ballot, that was a paper ballot.

PILGRIM: That was.

DOBBS: Causing all that trouble in Florida.

PILGRIM: That was a bad paper ballot and then they went to electronic because of that and that’s when they had even more trouble.

DOBBS: Well, it’s — seems like there is just a lot of trouble when it comes to figuring out how to cast a ballot in some quarters of Florida and other states. We hope that that won’t be a problem this year. Thank you very much, Kitty Pilgrim.

Well, the backlash against those e-voting machines has prompted some states such as Tennessee to pass laws requiring a paper trail for any type of voting. Unfortunately, Tennessee along with New York and Maryland won’t have the paper ballots either. Not until after the 2008 presidential election. In the swing state of Pennsylvania, as Kitty just reported, most of the machines are electronic and have no paper trail.


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