(West Windsor, NJ) – Rep. Rush Holt (NJ-12) today responded to the New Jersey Superior Court decision, which failed to require the expeditious deployment of paper ballots voting systems in New Jersey. The ruling found that “[s]ecurity vulnerabilities are present, to some degree, in every voting system. There is simply no such thing as a voting system that is impossible to manipulate.” Yet, the ruling allows for the continued use of New Jersey’s unauditable touch screen voting machines.
“If, as the court acknowledges, security vulnerabilities exist, then the court and the citizenry should want the possibility of audits capable of detecting and mistakes or misbehavior,” Holt said.
Holt has introduced legislation in Congress to create a national standard of voting to help ensure that every vote is recorded and counted as intended. The bill would require paper ballot voting systems accompanied by accessible ballot marking devices and require routine random audits of electronic voting tallies.
“The fundamental purpose of the lawsuit has been to ensure the accuracy and integrity of the vote tallies by requiring the use of paper ballots as the basis of those tallies,” Holt said. “Until New Jersey implements a paper ballot voting system, we will have faith-based voting,” Holt said.
Although the ruling requires New Jersey’s 11,000 voting machines to be re-evaluated by a panel of experts within 120 days to determine whether they are accurate and reliable, requires increased security measures, and prohibits connecting computers that are used for election duties from being connected to the Internet, the results they produce cannot be independently audited.
I happen to agree with Congressman Holt on this issue. Ensuring that each vote counts and that each vote is free from fraud is essential to our democracy. Not to have a paper back-up system to these electronic machines, that have been shown to be vulnerable to manipulation and failure is just plain crazy and needs to be rectified.
Case in point – This past November an electronic voting machine in my district failed during the last hour of the day. The poll workers were unable to reboot the machine in order to retrieve the result, hence the numbers from that machine were not recorded by the county election board and were not certified. In the big picture would those couple of hundred lost votes have made a difference in the outcome of the election? No, because the margin of victory was to large to have been swayed by those votes. But in elections that in the future are much closer those uncounted votes could have been the difference and changed the outcome of the race.