A state group is helping spread a national message about voting machines. Alta Price is a spokesperson for Democracy for Iowa, which is distributing an information packet to Iowa’s 99 county auditors. She says there’s a lot of confusion about the “Help America Vote Act” and she says that’s especially true about electronic machines. She says counties aren’t required to buy the electronic machines. Price says electronic machines were touted as the answer to the hanging chads that created problems in the 2000 election, but she says the electronic machines aren’t perfect. She says one of the problems with the electronic machines is they don’t have a paper ballot, so some elections have had to be redone if there was a problem, since there’s no paper record. Price says another problem with the touch-screen computer machines is the cost. She says an optical scan machine can service five booths at a cost of six-thousand dollars, while the computer touch screens are required for each of the booths at a cost of 17-thousand dollars. Price says the high-tech machines don’t always take away the confusion of voting. She says especially in a state like Iowa, where there’s a sizable elderly population, sometimes the touch screens are hard to use and she says it might be intimidating to vote on a computer. Price says they’re distributing the information called “Myth Breakers for Election Officials” to prevent auditors from buying machines that don’t do the job. She says you don’t want to try and correct one problem by creating worse problems. She says she knew about the problems with paper ballots, but also found out that with some of the electronic systems it’s difficult to prevent fraud. Price says many counties will be looking to replace their old voting machines in the coming months. For more information on the voting issues, surf to: www.votersunite.org
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