Ohio dumps touch-screen machines

By Farhad Manjoo

Published January 14, 2005 1:21AM (EST)

Kenneth Blackwell, Ohio's Secretary of State, isn't exactly a leading light of election reform, but it's good to see him make the right decision on voting machines. Citing the high price of electronic voting systems, Blackwell yesterday ordered every Ohio county to switch to well-regarded optical-scan machines, not touch-screens, by November 2005.

From the Cleveland Plain Dealer:

"'We have a tight election reform deployment schedule, too few allocated federal and state dollars and not one electronic voting device certified under Ohio's standards and rules,' Blackwell said in a statement.

"Spokesman Carlo LoParo said these machines -- long Blackwell's favored technology -- produce the required paper record and are more flexible and affordable than electronic machines. Ohio has a limited pot of federal money to pay for the conversion.

"'Keeping costs down is important because adding a paper trail to touch-screen devices could have increased spending on the machines by 20 percent,' he said. 'And long lines in November caused election boards to want more machines per voters -- and there are 900,000 more voters statewide than in 2000.'"

Farhad Manjoo

Farhad Manjoo is a Salon staff writer and the author of True Enough: Learning to Live in a Post-Fact Society.

MORE FROM Farhad Manjoo

Related Topics ------------------------------------------

War Room