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February 16, 2022

Arizona Bill to Outlaw Voting Machines Moves Forward [TJM]

The Senate Government Committee voted along party lines Monday to move forward Senate Bill 1338. Sponsored by Sen. Wendy Rogers, R-Flagstaff, the measure would ban the use of electronic voting and electronic or other tabulating devices in any election in Arizona. It also would mandate precinct polling places, forbidding the current system of more consolidated voting centers.

Well, this is certainly an interesting development in the effort to clean up elections in America.
Every state in America has rules around the retention of information on voting, Arizona included, but the embrace of glorified computers to do the counting has introduced a level of opaqueness to the whole affair that's done nothing to enhance America's confidence in the security of our elections. Just like I can go into my own company's database and change some numbers, so can anyone with access to the databases on the voting machines. They can be manipulated in several different ways from how the machines process ballots, unreadable entries, and blank entries to how long they retain information. Hell, Maricopa County simply has refused to turn over key parts of their processing to auditors.
There is no fool-proof election system (I recall some talking head on a network news show a few years ago explaining the process of rigging the papal elections, and those use handwritten cards written by individual cardinals, and it's still possible), but putting everything on purely on paper eliminates some key, modern avenues for cheating.
It would still require document retention (which many localities have failed to follow through on since last year, natch), but there's no pointing at a computer screen and saying, "Well, there it is."
If this happens, it's a step in the right direction, but the key is to make sure that it's not just window dressing of a fix. You can still print fake ballots and throw them in a pile that gets counted in every audit, but actually having to pick up the ballots and count them can help identify issues that software can be programed to ignore.
"We use technology in our everyday lives and other very sensitive areas -- banking, medical, etc. -- I don't think we should go backward in terms of voting even though we obviously recognize that voting is an incredibly crucial piece of the way our country functions."

The above is not an argument against paper ballots. "We do it in other places," isn't persuasive to me in the least. Banks and hospitals get hacked all the time. Voting should be more secure, not as or less.
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posted by Open Blogger at 06:39 PM

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