More Voting Tips

Joel has been doing a great job of informing any readers about your voting rights, not just here in Orange County, but everywhere. I just thought I’d offer one for all those voters in California that have electronic voting machines. If you haven’t chosen to do absentee voting then you should know… It’s been required of the polling locations to have paper ballots as a choice also. The volunteer workers are supposed to offer both options, but there is rumor that some may not.

No matter what, ask for a paper ballot and do not vote with the electronic voter machines. If you haven’t heard about the problems with them, you almost don’t want to know. So that’s my advice and I’m sticking to it!

11 Comments so far

  1. Jamie (unregistered) on October 20th, 2004 @ 7:14 am

    I found this article from a friend and it gives a pretty scary picture of what Florida is like, and why electronic voting (right now) is not a good idea.

  2. Jamie (unregistered) on October 20th, 2004 @ 7:15 am

    Sorry, bad html…here is the article

  3. ocswing (unregistered) on October 20th, 2004 @ 9:21 am

    That definitely is scary, and I’m glad that we’re not in Florida. Let’s hope that this election doesn’t have the controversy of years past.

  4. Justin (unregistered) on October 20th, 2004 @ 11:00 am

    Is this ability to ask for a paper ballot nation-wide, or just in CA? I’d never heard of this before.

    DRE EVMs are awful. A paper trail helps a lot, though, but only if there’s a commitment from the vote counters that they’ll use the paper trail as the authoritative record; I’ve heard of a case in Belgium where the electronic record didn’t match the paper one, and the counters went with the electronic data as the authoritative source.

  5. ocswing (unregistered) on October 20th, 2004 @ 11:24 am

    I believe that it is just in California. At least that is the only place that I’ve heard of it. But there are serious problems with these machines and until they get fixed I’m not going to use them. I think we’ll be fine here for the most part anyway, but I feel bad for a place like Florida.

    That case in Belgium makes no sense whatsoever. What was the point of the paper audit trail?

  6. Michael Doss (unregistered) on October 20th, 2004 @ 12:27 pm

    It’s not a nationwide thing, only California. More information is available at the Secretary of State’s website at

  7. Michael Doss (unregistered) on October 20th, 2004 @ 12:30 pm

    Whoops. That should be

    Open it in a new browser window for easy viewing.

  8. Mike Randall (unregistered) on October 20th, 2004 @ 1:15 pm

    This is the main reason why I am voting via an absentee ballot.

    Keep up the good work Joel.

  9. Justin (unregistered) on October 20th, 2004 @ 2:27 pm

    The paper audit trail was added so the vote-counters could say, “see, we have a paper audit trail”. ;)

    They just wanted something to stop people complaining about the problems with DRE systems; however, they didn’t plan to *use* it if they could avoid it. (people running election counts seem to love DRE voting machines, as they don’t have to store all those paper ballots, and run manual recounts. adding a paper trail doesn’t make them happy at all.)

  10. Grant (unregistered) on October 20th, 2004 @ 4:29 pm

    Justin, that is not why county registrars love these new voting machines. Instead, they love them because the counties already have them. And in every county there is a clause in the contract with the voting machine manufacturer that says the manufacturer will have to upgrade the voting machines at no cost to the county if the requirements for the machines change. Meaning, if the Secretary of State makes a paper audit mandatory on all machines, then the manufacturers will have to add a paper audit trail to every machine, at no cost to the county.

    Sounds great, except for the fact that most county registrars are in the pocket of the voting machine manufacturers. It is something knows as industry capture. Since many of the registrars have spent their entire career moving in and out of public life, alternating it with working for these manufacturers, they end up caring more about what is good for the manufacturers than what is good for the people.

    One example of this is the Riverside County Registrar of Voters. In the contract that Riverside County made with Sequoia Voting Systems it stated that Sequoia had a responsibility to update their voting machines if the requirements changed and they became decertified in the ten years from when the contract was made. In debates about adding a paper audit as a requirement for certification, the Riverside County Registrar argued that the state should make paper audits a requirement in ten years. Which happened to coincide with the time Sequoia was no longer responsible for upgrading the machines.

    So I don’t believe the county registrars love these new machines just for ease of use. There are other motives behind their actions that aren’t nearly as pro-democratic as reducing bureaucracy and costs.

    If anybody wants to know a bit about the machines used in Orange County, you can check out the EFF’s Electronic Voting Machine Information Sheet at This is the one for Orange County, for other counties you can find a list of other voting systems and which counties use them at

  11. Grant (unregistered) on October 20th, 2004 @ 4:30 pm

    Those links got screwed up because I put periods after them, they are suppose to be and which should work. Hope that helps.

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