Saturday, September 11, 2004
Hopeful's e-vote plight raises verification issue
RIVERSIDE -County election officials have been among the staunchest advocates of electronic voting, insisting that computers are as reliable as paper ballots.
But a dispute over a razor-thin election here suggests that important electronic data might not exist, making accurate recounts impossible in many states.
Linda Soubirous, a candidate for the Riverside County board of supervisors, lost a chance to stage a runoff by fewer than 50 votes.
When Soubirous asked to look at the computer disks and other electronic records kept during the election, county officials refused.
Critics of electronic voting say that what happened during the March primary in the sprawling county east of Los Angeles should be a wake-up call for the 50 million Americans eligible to vote electronically in November.
Undocumented software glitches, hackers, mechanical errors or deleted ballots in only a few counties could have huge implications in a presidential election likely to be a cliffhanger.
More than 100,000 paperless terminals have been installed across the nation, particularly in California, Maryland, Georgia and the battleground states of Florida, New Mexico and Nevada.
"This isn't about Riverside -- it's about our nation," said Soubirous, 42, who sued Riverside County and its registrar of voters, Mischelle Townsend, an outspoken booster of electronic voting systems.
Electronic and Internet voting means RECOUNTS ARE IMPOSSIBLE.
I don't think that's progress.