Voting Technology

There was a lightly contested primary election in Washington, with a grand total of one contested race for the Democrats and only a couple for the Republicans. Since I’ve moved since the last election, I was curious to see what the voting technology looks like in my small Island County precinct.

The old system in King County was Diebold scanners for paper ballots. So while I never really trusted the scanners, at least there was a paper ballot that was the official record of my vote.

Island County is a little different. My precinct had paper ballots and a sealed box for submission. Very low tech, but effective and crash proof. Then again, this is a precinct where most of the voters vote absentee, so there was not exactly a line at the polls. In fact, didn’t actually see another voter while I was there.

There was one electronic machine that was designated for people who needed assistance, but in practice anyone who wanted to use it could. It was not a Diebold, but I wasn’t able to see what it was. I did learn that there is a voter verifiable paper trail associated with it. Prior to submitting your vote, the voter verifies that the votes on a paper roll behind a window are correct. When confirmed, the votes are entered on the machine and the paper is scrolled out of view. I’m relatively confident that while the machine may have its faults, there is a permanent record of the votes that are made with the machine.

Here’s one county that’s getting the electronic portion right.

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