The group "Iowans for Voting Integrity" is urging state officials to put up the funding so counties can get the right software to print paper records of each ballot cast in the November 2008 election. "Iowans for Voting Integrity" co-chair Sean Flaherty says paper ballots can be verified by the voter and are crucial if there’s a need for a hand recount in a close election.
The need for paper records may seem redundant in the computer age, but according to Flaherty, some of the strongest supporters of paper ballot backups are computer experts. "The ballot is secret, so a voter can’t go back and check that their individual ballot was counted as cast the way you can go back into your accountants website and verify that your tax return was filed as you intended," Flaherty says.
"Iowans for Voting Integrity" argue dozens of Iowa counties need to buy the software to print paper ballot records of votes cast on touch-screen voting machines. "Nineteen counties use the touch-screens as the primary voting systems and 59 counties use the touch-screens as the secondary voting system available for voters with disabilities," Flaherty says.
All counties are required by November, 2008, to have a paper print-out as a back-up of all votes cast, but Flaherty says that’s a band-aid solution. "The paper print-out back-ups store all the votes on a continuous roll, so there’s a question of voter privacy," he says. "They also are very cumbersome to recount because they are on a continuous roll." Flaherty says he’s "cautiously optimistic" lawmakers will respond to their concerns.