Pin It
Favorite

Touchscreen Voting Locally 

by Ted S. McGregor Jr.


While some states like Ohio, Georgia and Florida have moved heavily into touch-screen voting systems, Washington and Idaho are moving more slowly in that direction. In Washington, Snohomish County is the only county to have switched to the controversial system. No counties in Idaho have switched.


In Spokane County, election officials are just getting settled into the relatively new optical scan system -- but change may be coming soon, says Spokane County Auditor Vicky Dalton.


"We've got some hard decisions in the next two years," says Dalton. "To comply with the Help America Vote Act (HAVA), we have to have handicap-accessible machines at every poll site."


Currently, the optical scan systems do not accommodate blind voters, for example. Since HAVA is civil rights legislation, failure to comply could lead to federal lawsuits. Since touch-screen systems have an audio component built in, Dalton says that HAVA is essentially pushing the nation's counties toward that technology. There are, however, new add-ons being developed to accommodate HAVA within the optical scan systems. Dalton hopes such devices will be on the market in time for the county to comply by Jan. 1, 2006. Otherwise, it looks like Spokane County -- and others around the Inland Northwest -- would have to move to touch-screens.


"We love the optical scan, and we would not move off it except for that one provision in HAVA," says Dalton.


As for whether she's bothered by reports that the touch-screen systems are open to hacking and offer voters no paper trail, Dalton, who is a CPA and holds a degree in computer science, strikes a middle ground.


"I think [critics are] being a little too reactionary [about the threat of hacking]," she says. "And although I see some tech problems with having a paper trail, I would feel far more comfortable with some kind of a paper trail -- not just a computer's memory."


It's likely, Dalton says, that within the next year or so, touch-screen systems with paper trail technology will be available for purchase.





Publication date: 02/19/04
  • Pin It

Latest in Comment

  • Class Act
  • Class Act

    Seeing through money differences can build relationships focused on fairness
    • Sep 22, 2016
  • Don's Ultimate Con
  • Don's Ultimate Con

    Trail Mix: Trump's birther problems and Johnson's polls
    • Sep 22, 2016
  • Transparent Motives
  • Transparent Motives

    One candidate's an open book; the other is shrouded in secrecy. Guess which one isn't transparent enough
    • Sep 22, 2016
  • More »

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Today | Mon | Tue | Wed | Thu | Fri | Sat
Spokane Social Sketch

Spokane Social Sketch @ Boots Bakery & Lounge

Last Sunday of every month, 2-5 p.m.

All of today's events | Staff Picks

More by Ted S. McGregor Jr.

  • After the Deluge
  • After the Deluge

    Cleaning up Trump's hot mess is going to take some heroic leadership
    • Sep 1, 2016
  • <b>From Crimson &#10;to Purple</b>
  • From Crimson to Purple

    Bob Gregory was a Spokane-bred Cougar through and through; now he's prowling the sidelines for the Huskies
    • Sep 1, 2016
  • Staying Engaged
  • Staying Engaged

    From the Mayfair Cafe to Central Park
    • Aug 4, 2016
  • More »

Most Commented On

  • To Kill the Black Snake

    Historic all-tribes protest at Standing Rock is meant to stop the destruction of the earth for all
    • Sep 8, 2016
  • Murrow's Nightmare

    Debate moderators need to be much more than an onstage prop to make our democracy work
    • Sep 15, 2016
  • More »

Top Tags in
News & Comment

election 2016


trail mix


BRIEFS


green zone


marijuana


Readers also liked…

  • To Kill the Black Snake
  • To Kill the Black Snake

    Historic all-tribes protest at Standing Rock is meant to stop the destruction of the earth for all
    • Sep 8, 2016
  • Accepting Love
  • Accepting Love

    How making peace with our besieged sexuality can transform our relationships and sense of self
    • Feb 18, 2015

© 2016 Inlander
Website powered by Foundation