A University of Iowa computer science professor who’s an expert on voting machines says Iowa’s election laws need to be updated and should require a paper print-out of votes cast electronically.
Doug Jones spoke at the statehouse over the noon-hour, and he says there are even more flaws to fix. “The issue won’t go away. Iowa’s election law contains these clauses that really need to be fixed. There are major oversights in the law,” Jones says. “The problems are national…the problem is for the state to take control of the situation and do some pro-active work.”
Iowa’s Commissioner of Elections, a bipartisan task force made up of election officials and voting rights groups like the League of Women have tried but failed to convince the Iowa Legislature to act. “Our basic voting system law…was reformed in the early 1990s,” Jones says. “There’s wording in that law which I still can’t figure out.” In addition to a paper print-out of the votes cast in electronic voting machines, Jones advocates establishing independent boards which would “audit” the votes cast.
“We can point to all kinds of horrible election frauds from 50 years ago but today everyone’s completely honest?” Jones asks. “I’d like to know what we are like in the judgment of people 50 years from now. I think if we had strong, independent auditing of elections we’d be much safer.” Jones is philosophical about the lack of action on election reforms. “Democracy has been a 200 year adventure in the United States…and we still don’t have it right necessarily,” Jones says. “We have to recognize that it’s an on-going process.”