People like the paper trail

The paper trail test added to some voting machines proved popular:

The university’s (UGA) Survey Research Center interviewed 459 voters who used the machines. The results released by the Secretary of State’s Office on Monday showed that 96 percent found the paper audit trail easy to use, 88 percent said their overall voting experience was “good,” and 89 percent of voters were either “very” or “somewhat” confident in the accuracy and security of the voting machines.

Eighty-seven percent of voters said they had previously been confident in the machines, 82 percent said they favored a paper trail for Georgia’s voting system, and 99.8 percent said the paper trail accurately reflected their choices.

While people seemed to like the paper trail, there was only a 2% increase in the number of people confident in the accuracy and security of these machines. In other words, most people want a paper trail, but were already confident with the machines.

Oh yea, if my math is correct, 1 person still thought the machine got his vote wrong. 🙂


  1. ugavi says:

    Is it worth the money to replace the existing machines? There was only a 2% bump. The new machines would cost somewhere between $60-$70 million.

  2. ColinATL says:

    Paper trails are a no brainer, especially in light of the debacle going on in Florida’s 13th CD, where something like 13-15,000 votes for the congressional race appear to have disappeared into thin air, throwing the election.

    The cost is worth it, even if the survey didn’t show a remarkable increase in confidence. I think if more people knew about the Florida race, more people would understand the need for the paper trail.

    Ultimately, the voting machine companies don’t like the paper trail because it opens up all kinds of support issues (is there enough paper, is the printer working, and so on).

  3. rugby_fan says:

    I would like for their to be some form of something attached to the voting machines.

    That having been said, I would prefer we put more thought into the hardware so as to not have a Cathy Cox style implementation just to be “the first state in the nation” with whatever it is we do. This would maybe lead to a lower cost and higher quality system.

    What is the adage about haste and waste?

  4. DougieFresh says:

    Regarding it only being a 2 percent bump,

    Do we design voting systems to inspire confidence, or to ensure we have accurate elections? I would not care if the confidence of the voter went down, I still want a paper trail.

    Perhaps it is because I program computers, that I have never had the absolute faith in them that many people, who ordinarily have a healthy dose of skepticism, seem to have.

    Hitting recalculate on a touch screen is not a recount. A recount should require some form of audit of the individual votes, not just relying on some computer reporting a result.

    This is like staging a recount by just asking the precints to restate what they already counted.

    I would actually like a random full audit/recount of 1-2 state legislature races (regarldless of the margin of victory) every election to make sure the system works as advertsied. Of course there is no way of knowing if they work as advertsied without a vote to vote paper trail.

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