Thursday, June 17, 2004

League of Women Voters drops support of e-vote machines

By Rachel Konrad, Associated Press, June 14, 2004

The League of Women Voters held its national convention in Washington, D.C. last weekend, providing an opportunity for League members who have opposed the organization's position supporting paperless touchscreen voting systems to challenge that position. They succeeded in rescinding the League's previous position, which expressed support for touchscreens, and replaced it with a neutral position.

The League's prior position stated that "The LWVUS does not believe that an individual paper confirmation for each ballot is required....The experts that we have consulted say that there are many safeguards other than an individual ballot paper confirmation that can protect the sanctity of the ballot and that other issues are far more important in safeguarding our election systems.

The new position is:

"In order to ensure integrity and voter confidence in elections, the LWVUS

supports the implementation of voting systems and procedures that are

secure, accurate, recountable, and accessible."

The League was not happy with the AP story, and issued a press statement on June 14 that said, "The League continues to support voting systems that are well-managed and meet the above four criteria, including electronic voting systems. Each voting system should be looked at on a case-by-case basis to ensure that it meets each of these four criteria and that the operational and management systems supporting it will be well-run."

Excerpts from the AP story:


The League of Women Voters rescinded its support of paperless voting machines on Monday, after hundreds of angry members argued that paper ballots were the only way to safeguard elections from fraud, hackers and computer malfunctions.

About 800 delegates who attended the nonpartisan league's biennial convention in Washington voted overwhelmingly in favor of a resolution that supports "voting systems and procedures that are secure, accurate, recountable and accessible."

That relatively neutral stance was a sharp change from last year, when leaders endorsed paperless terminals as reliable alternatives to antiquated punch card and lever systems.


"My initial reaction is incredible joy and relief," said computer scientist Barbara Simons, 63, past president of the Association for Computing Machinery and a league member from a chapter in Palo Alto, Calif. "This issue was threatening to split the league apart. ... The league now has a position that I feel very comfortable supporting."

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