Bring Back the Good Old Paper Ballot

Paper Ballots Remain the Gold Standard, Cybersecurity Expert Says

If the Defense Department, the CIA, and our largest corporations can be hacked, certainly 50 states and over 3,000 separate county systems are no match for individuals or nation states that might want to influence the outcome of elections. This is particularly true because nowadays things in the world of electronics and elections are as complex as ever. Even if we are casting our ballots on the Internet, the process of touch screens, optical scanning, or any kind of tabulation without a paper trail, may leave us vulnerable.

Jonathan Katz, director of the University of Maryland Cybersecurity Center, argues in this podcast with WhoWhatWhy’s Jeff Schechtman that every system is only as strong as its weakest node. He also talks about why every system, short of paper ballots, has some vulnerability and why the combination of voting, technology, and privacy are often competing forces.

For more on WhoWhatWhy‘s recent coverage of this and related issues, see here and here.

Related front page panorama photo credit: Pointing Fingers (Adam Tuttle / Flickr), System Lock (Yuri Samoilov / Flickr)

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13 responses to “Bring Back the Good Old Paper Ballot”

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  4. archiebird says:

    There needs to be a serious discussion about going back to paper ballots especially when a Kansas City mathematician points out abnormal voting patterns. We are not talking about voter fraud, which is an individualized voter committing fraud, we are talking about stealing entire elections. http://www.rawstory.com/2015/09/mathematician-suspicious-of-election-fraud-hires-lawyer-to-force-kansas-to-hand-over-voting-records/

  5. ScroodeMcDuck says:

    Jeff Schechtman doesn’t like the 1st Amendmant. He won’t allow me to “Speak Truth to Power” or “Make an impact now.. Check my previous posts that he deleted.

  6. Ricky Dale Jordan says:

    Texas governor Greg Abbott stole the election by cheating the Diebold ballot counting system! Paper ballot systems are a must in Texas for sure!

    • ScroodeMcDuck says:

      2nd Censorship Jeff Schechtman doesn’t like the 1st Amendmant. He won’t allow me to
      “Speak Truth to Power” or “Make an impact now.. Check my previous posts
      that he deleted. Censorship

  7. (Comment by @Frankie78209) There is some evidence that elections have been stolen by those electronic machines. Let’s get back to paper

    • ScroodeMcDuck says:

      2 Censorship Jeff Schechtman doesn’t like the 1st Amendmant. He won’t allow me to
      “Speak Truth to Power” or “Make an impact now.. Check my previous posts
      that he deleted. Censorship

  8. Rich_Tamm says:

    Paper ballots are only good if they are actually used in a really good audit. Otherwise they are just something to lull us into a false sense of confidence. If the paper ballots are sealed immediately after they are taken out of the scanning machine, and if they can only be unsealed under a court order after proof of fraud is brought before a judge, then they are useless. You have to see the ballots and recount them by some means other than the original voting machine system in order to begin to verify an accurate vote count. The paper ballot scanning machines have the same secret ballot-counting code as the touch-screen voting machines. We cannot allow that secret code in the scanners be the last word. We must actually audit the count. See Jonathan Simon’s book “Code RED” where he says that targeted elections have vote counts on all the electronic voting machines shifted as much as 10% from the expected results toward the establishment Republican, from both the Democratic opponent and also from the Tea Party opponent.

    • ScroodeMcDuck says:

      Jeff Schechtman doesn’t like the 1st Amendmant. He won’t allow me to
      “Speak Truth to Power” or “Make an impact now.. Check my previous posts
      that he deleted. Censorship

    • intalecshul says:

      There
      is really no need to have scanners at all. The expense, time, and trouble
      spent on the stupid machines would be better spent focusing on manual vote
      counting of manually marked ballots on regular paper. The counting, tallying and reporting at precinct, (maybe township, for States that have them) then county level, would have to be in the open, before the public, and would take a little time, but would be well worth it.

    • Rich_Tamm says:

      I’ve long thought that we could institute “election duty” that would be just like “jury duty”. Instead of spending many millions on insecure voting machines, we could be spending locally, paying people who do “election duty” hand-counting the paper ballots after the polls close.

  9. Oldsailor65 says:

    Yes I agree, this next election MUST be honest, no dead people, no illegals voting and vote only once. It is important to do this and everyone should have to show a valid picture ID.

    • ScroodeMcDuck says:

      12

      Censorship Jeff Schechtman doesn’t like the 1st Amendmant. He won’t allow me to
      “Speak Truth to Power” or “Make an impact now.. Check my previous posts
      that he deleted. Censorship

  10. paulrevere01 says:

    What abut the Argonne Labs guys who hacked two machines from a half mile away, on a laptop rigged with a fifteen buck RadioShack gizmo?

    Paper ballot confirmation from the machines can still be manipulated…they mean nothing. How can a voter check if their vote was valid? That implies some degree of visibility as to equating a vote to a voter.

    National voting holiday…paper + pencil ballots…enforced chain of possession/evidence…citizen staffed, like juries, vote count groups…citizen staffed mandatory exit polls…
    NO TECHNOLOGY…AT ALL.

    Why is ‘internet voting’ even on the table? If NSA and DOD and CITIBANK and many others are regularly being hacked, what kind of Einstein thinking, doing the same thing over and over, expecting different results, would suggest, as this interviewee seems to be promoting, this redundantly silly suggestion?? OVER FIFTY YEARS AND THERE STILL IS NO NETWORK SECURITY…get a grip tech brains…your birds nest software will always be able to be hacked.

    FORGET INTERNET VOTING interviewer…sheesh!

    • ScroodeMcDuck says:

      Censorship Jeff Schechtman doesn’t like the 1st Amendmant. He won’t allow me to
      “Speak Truth to Power” or “Make an impact now.. Check my previous posts
      that he deleted. Censorship

    • intalecshul says:

      Election judges apparently were the original “jury” charged with counting the vote.

    • paulrevere01 says:

      I didn’t know that…well, knowing full well that state and local would hold the badges and reigns one would have to call for, in the early stages, complete paper trail chain of custody transparency…along with the selection process for the various circle of civic responsibility duties needed spanning all functions in the election process…its way closed, guarded and sadly political these days.

  11. ScroodeMcDuck says:

    I thought you might do that ! Censorship is Not an American way of doing things. Where do your allegiances lie ?