On-Paper Progress in Voting Methodology

This was a trend (per a report from The Hill‘s Cory Bennett) of which I was at most dimly aware, in part because I’ve been voting by mail since 2008:

States have abandoned electronic voting machines in droves, ensuring that most voters will be casting their ballots by hand on Election Day.

With many electronic voting machines more than a decade old, and states lacking the funding to repair or replace them, officials have opted to return to the pencil-and-paper voting that the new technology was supposed to replace.

Nearly 70 percent of voters will be casting ballots by hand on Tuesday, according to Pamela Smith, president of election watchdog Verified Voting.

“Paper, even though it sounds kind of old school, it actually has properties that serve the elections really well,” Smith said.

Aside from the rebuff this trend poses to any Diebold Conspiracy, it also means that one of the few real legacies of the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) of 2002–which helped pay for installation of many electronic voting machines–turned out to be a waste of money as well as a false sign of progress in raising standards for election administration.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.