Georgia’s paperless electronic voting process and systems in five other states have gained the attention of an election watchdog group. In a ComputerWorld article on e-voting, the Verified Voting Foundation says states relying on paperless machines will have a hard time auditing the results, which, the group says, are vulnerable to tampering.
Voter-marked paper ballots that are scanned and tallied by electronic systems, along with paper copies of electronically cast votes, together give election officials a reliable way to verify the accuracy of tallies, [said the watdog group's president, Pamela Smith]. “Paper enables the properties of recounting that we need right now,” Smith said.
But Merle King, executive director of the Center for Election Systems, says Georgia’s system is safe and disputes the watchdog group’s concerns. CES is a venture between Georgia’s secretary of state’s office and Kennesaw State University.
“I think the notion that electronic systems are not auditable would come as a shock to every accounting firm, every auditing firm, the federal government, the airline industry and all who have paperless systems,” King said. “The notion that paper equals auditability is old-fashioned at best and ill-informed overall.”
Most election fraud has historically happened with paper ballots, which even today is more prevalent with mail-in absentee ballots, he said.