Posted Aug 11, 2007 3:57 UTC (Sat) by giraffedata
In reply to: Hanging chads
Parent article: Securing our votes
Virtually all ballots in US elections have been counted by machine for at least 20 years. Some of those machines use more electronics than others. The exceptions have been rural areas where hand counting is cheaper, but those areas are now tending toward mail-in ballots counted by machine.
Hand counting has been a backup for when the machine fails, and various jurisdictions have various rules on what is adequate evidence of a machine failure. The legal controversy in the 2000 Florida presidential election had to do with interpreting Florida's vague rules in that regard (Florida isn't special -- almost all states had vague rules).
Since ultimately none of the counting issues affected that famous election (while a full hand recount was found to be not legally required, a bunch of journalists did one anyhow and found that no matter how you counted the ambiguous votes, George Bush won), and the only real unfairness was the misunderstood Palm Beach County butterfly ballot (if voters had voted for the candidate they meant to vote for, George Bush would have lost), I think the GUI makes a lot of sense. It's a more powerful medium than any paper ballot can be.
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