Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Ohio Wants Diebolt Voting Machines Replaced

Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner wants Ohio to get rid of the Diebolt voting machines that are now in place in 57 Ohio counties and replace them with optical scanners with paper ballots. The Blade reports:

The issue surfaced first in Cleveland, with state officials determining that touch-screen voting machines used in Cuyahoga County were so unreliable that Ms. Brunner - the state's chief elections officer - ordered them dumped prior to the March 4 primary. If Ms. Brunner gets her way, those counties and the 48 others throughout Ohio that have some version of touch-screen machines will discard them in favor of an optical-scan system for paper ballots in time for the November general election.

The reason Ms. Brenner is concerned about the Diebold machines is their reliability. Adding fuel to this controversy is the fact that Mr. Diebold himself was a campaign operative for Bush/Cheney. Ohio's vote both in 2000 and 2004 was critical to the Bush/Cheney victories. The Ohio review raised serious security questions about the vulnerability of the touch-screen machines to hacking - with tools as small as a Treo smartphone and a magnet - and both human and computer errors. These questions prompted Ms. Brunner to propose switching to paper ballots, consolidating polling places, centralizing vote counting, and allowing early voting by mail.
All of this adds fuel to the usual controversy about Ohio elections which prompted the interesting question: Will Ohio become the new Ohio in 2008?

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