Iowa’s Election Woes

  Iowa's Election Woes

By Jerry DePew, Iowa Voters

This was a 2 day post on Iowa Voters. It speaks volumes about the problems we could face in the fall 2006.

Several Iowa counties that once planned to use paper trails as part of
their touchscreen voting equipment did not do so in the June primary.

A map at the SoS website shows nine counties that announced plans to
use a paper trail. But a survey of auditors by Iowans for Voting
Integrity reveals that only Black Hawk (Waterloo) and Story (Ames)
counties actually used the printers. (Linn county did not respond to
the inquiry.)

Monona, Audubon, Boone, and Henry counties purchased Diebold printers
but never used them. Des Moines county never purchased printers in
spite of the map’s indication that they did. Johnson (Iowa City) county
was unable to purchase the printers it wanted because vendor E S &
S never presented its printer to Iowa for certification.

Coming tomorrow—How many paperless votes were cast in the June 6th primary election?

Paperless Plague Swept Iowa June 6

Iowa’s June 6 primary was plagued with paperless voting. According to a survey of Iowa auditors, at least 21% of the votes were cast on touchscreen terminals that left no voter verified paper trail.

This wasn’t supposed to happen, according to the prognostications of the Iowa Secretary of State. Although Secretary Culver lobbied for the passage of a paper trail requirement in the legislature this winter, he was calm when the bill was waylaid by Representative Libby Jacobs and others in her party. We were supposed to be soothed by the fact that some 93% of polling places would nonetheless have paper ballots or paper trails.

But many counties have two voting machines. One leaves a trail and one is paperless. What would the voters actually do?

After the election the SoS had no idea what the voters actually did. Counties were not asked to report this information. Iowans for Voting Integrity did this work for you, surveying all counties that used two systems at the polls. Most surveyed counties–43 of the 59–responded.

If we tally just the reported touchscreen votes, we get 21% voting on vapor. This does not include some of the biggest counties, whose auditors–Mary Mosiman in Story county and Linda Langenburg in Linn county–did not report their figures despite repeated requests. IVI president Carole Simmons estimates the final figure at 25%

The problem of paperless votes is thus at least three times as big as Culver’s office acknowledges. Luckily for Iowa the only known ballot miscounting occurred in a county with 100% paper, so it got fixed.

Close call.

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