Florida Trashes Touch-Screen Voting Machines

by on May 5, 2007

The Miami Herald reports that Florida has passed legislation ditching touch-screen voting machines. The entire state will switch back to the tried-and-true technology of optical-scan paper ballots. Good for Florida

The rapid shift in the conventional wisdom is kind of stunning. Remember that the primary reason the nation adopted touch-screen voting machines in the first place was the widespread negative publicity surrounding “butterfly ballots” in Florida’s 2000 election. When the Help America Vote Act passed in 2002, there were only a handful of people raising concerns about computerized voting, and they tended to be dismissed as cranks.

Now the shoe is on the other foot. Although it will take some more work (either action by Congress or a lot more legislation at the state level) to replace all the touch-screen voting machines in the country, it’s starting to look like a matter of when, not if.

It’ll be interesting to see how many other states follow Florida’s lead. My guess is that Florida is unique, since they’re the state that had the biggest problems this year, and they’re already sensitive to the issue after the debacle in 2000. But I’m sure people in at least some other states are paying attention. Avi Rubin has been following a paper ballot bill making its way through Maryland’s legislature, so hopefully they’ll be joining Florida in the near future.

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