Election Reform Groups Oppose Touch Screen Voting Rule
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
July 28, 2004
TALLAHASSEE, FLORIDA--Less than 100 days before the General Election, the reliability of touch screen voting systems is still in question in Florida, the state that became the focus of public scrutiny because of voting problems in the 2000 election.
On Tuesday, the American Civil Liberties Union, Common Cause of Florida and other groups asked a judge to throw out a new state rule that prevents manual recounts on touch screen machines.
Fifteen counties plan to use touch screen systems which do not have a paper record. The election reform groups claim that touch screens violate state law, which requires an automatic physical recount when the margin of victory is less than one-fourth of 1 percent, and allows candidates to request a recount when the margin is less than one-half of 1 percent.
State elections officials said that it made no sense to have the rule if manual recounts are not possible.
Electronic voting systems have been favored by disability groups because they have large buttons that can be pressed easily, optional headphones for voters who cannot read because of blindness or other disabilities, along with the option to have the ballot read to them repeatedly to avoid errors.
Last month, the New York Times accused the National Federation of the Blind and the American Association of People with Disabilities of getting "too close" to manufacturers of electronic voting machines in their efforts to make elections more accessible, by accepting large donations.
"Groups argue need to recount votes made on machines" (St. Petersburg Times)