NY Times: The “death knell” for electronic touch screen voting

The NY Times reports that the state of Florida is abandoning touch screen electronic machines in favor of optical scanners, a move that retains a paper record but will cost the state tens of millions of dollars.

“Democracy,” says Fl. Gov. Charlie Crist, “doesn’t come cheap.” A heartening sentiment to hear from an elected official, and one that I hope is heard on Capitol Hill when they consider the budget for the underfunded and underappreciated Election Assistance Commission. If this is, as the Times opines, truly the “death knell” for the touch screen voting machines, the EAC and other election reformers are going to have a very busy year in front of them as they work with jurisdictions who move to OCR technology.

The final quote in the story is telling, however. Kim Brace notes that “optical scanning systems had had a slightly higher rate of voter error than touch screens.” But Kim knows just as well that voter confidence is what matters at this point–and voter confidence in the all-electronic machines just isn’t there.