Making Democracy Work

Alternative Voting Technologies

LWV-SC Task Force on Alternative Voting Technologies

Background

An Alternative Voting Technologies Task Force was created by the League of Women Voters of South Carolina Board on March 12, 2011. The proposal for the adoption of the task force is available here.

Problems with the accuracy of the certified vote using the current Direct Recording Electronic (DRE) voting system are expected to accelerate replacement of the current voting technology. The League needs to be knowledgeable about possible voting technologies in order to participate in selection of the next voting system.

This task force will examine the existing literature and periodically share collected information with the membership of LWVSC, utilizing the SC Voter and statewide meeting such as League Leaders' Day and State Council. Duncan Buell and Eleanor Hare will be co-chairs.

In June, 2012, representatives of the League were invited to meet with staff of the Legislative Audit Council (LAC) of the General Assembly. The League provided the LAC with a summary of our involvement with the Election Systems & Software (ES&S) voting machines.

In March, 2013, State Board received a report summarizing the activities of the task force over the past two years and reauthorized the task force for an additional two years.

Legislative Audit Council Report

Before becoming Lt. Governor, Senator Mitch McConnell requested the Legislative Audit Council of the General Assembly (LAC) to examine voting machines used in South Carolina. The audit objectives of the LAC were to

1. Evaluate the voting machines currently used in South Carolina and identify issues or concerns wit the current system.
2. Determine if the training provided to election officials is adequate and appropriate.
3. Determine alternatives to the current voting machines and identify issues or concerns with those systems.
The LAC report was published in March, 2013. A 1-page synopsis of the LAC report was prepared by a League member for use in meetings with legislators, but reading the entire report is highly recommended.

According to the LAC Report, the iVotronic voting machines were purchased from ES&S in 2004 and 2005 for $2995 each and the ADA-approved iVotronics for $3195 each.

LWV of South Carolina articles and publications

LWV Studies

Electronic Voting Equipment, Impact on Issues, 2005-2007, New York State.


The LWV of New York (state) 2010 Election Survey Report


Report on Election Auditing, January 2009, Election Audits Task Force of the LWV-US.


Election Law: Absentee Ballots Briefing Paper, LWV of Minnesota discusses absentee ballot problems and proposes solutions.

Costs

Sept 1, 2011 - Jun 30, 2019 State of Michigan Contract with Dominion Voting Services

Spreadsheet of Election System & Software annual contract charges to counties. This spreadsheet has been obtained from election directors, with the warning that it is not entirely accurate.


Cost Analysis of Maryland's Electronic Voting System, Feb. 2008. A sequence of slides.


Maryland Voting Systems Study, Dec. 2010.


Operating Cost Comparison for Different Types of Voting Systems and update for 2004-2008. North Carolina


Salem, OH, must pay $45K for ES&S paper ballot - optical scan


Cost of operating SC equipment. Work in progress, April, 2011.

ProCon.org: How much does it cost to purchase an electronic voting machine?, 2008.

ES&S machines in West Virginia, April 2011.

Current prices for paper ballots and programming ADA-compliant iVotronics in SC Provided by the South Carolina State Election Commission.

Wake County, NC, uses ES&S Model 100 and Model 650 scanners with voter-marked paper ballots (VerfiedVoting.org). The Elections Director is considering having ES&S train their technicians ($15,000 each) to maintain their machines instead of paying an annual maintenance fee to ES&S.


"... purchased 90 machines (AutoMARK) at a cost of about $450 per unit"
http://www.pnj.com/article/20120522/NEWS01/305220013/Update-voter-info-now

Brennan Center for Justice

News Articles

Electronic voting a threat to democracy ABC News


April 2011: Losing Democracy in Cyberspace  "Because voting computers are so vulnerable to tampering, they must be checked through an independent auditing system, not controlled by the computer, to make sure that they are counting votes properly."


April 2011: S.C. voting machines to get closer probe also appeared in the Post & Courier


Nov. 2010: $155,000 in ballots to be trashed

Miscellaneous

Electronic Voting -- Overview and Issues  -- Berkeley, June 2012.


CalTech/MIT Voting Technology Project


PrintElect produces ES&S paper ballots in North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia, 2007.


Vendors are Undermining the Structure of U.S. Elections, 2008, VotersUnite. One conclusion: "Citizens ... must demand transparent oversight of the elections they rightfully own."


Request for Proposal issued by Philadelphia, PA

Ballot Secrecy Keeps Voting Technology at Bay There is a pdf link in the Scientific American article to "Auditing a DRE-Based Election in South Carolina," which spells out the problems we found.  -- January, 2012


California Sec of State Top to Bottom Review, 2007. An extensive review of different voting systems.


The EAC partners with California on Post-election audit grant program Scientific American, January 2012.