Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Voting Machines We Can Trust

A lot of money was spent on voting machines here in Indiana in the past few years. If only we got the right machines.

Indiana’s voting machines are not capable of producing an auditable, voter verifiable paper audit trail. (VVPAT) They should be.

Grocery stores and other retailers allow you to see what you are buying, on the screen and on paper. Why can’t we do this with our votes?

Indiana’s voting machines are dependent upon software to count the votes. Many researchers are skeptical of the integrity of the machines, that they can be hacked into or pre-programmed to arrive at certain outcomes. Without a voter verifiable system and a paper trail, voters can always be skeptical about the accuracy and integrity of the tally.

More info: wheresthepaper.org


This term refers to the drawing of political districts for the purpose of ensuring certain outcomes in elections.

Gerrymandering ensures two things for citizens, both of them bad. It ensures low voter turnout, because the elections are rightly seen as a foregone conclusion. It ensures having elected officials who aren’t accountable to the voters. Without worries of a ballot box challenge, they tend not to listen to their constituents after a while.

This is an obvious problem, but neither Republicans nor Democrats want to change the system, because each party currently collects a share of fairly certain wins, fighting over just a handful of contested seats.

Here’s this year’s proof: 44 of 100 Indiana House seats will be uncontested this year. 9 of 25 Indiana Senate seats will also be uncontested.

In 2004, only 1 of the 25 Indiana Senate seats was any kind of contest, and even that wasn’t close. It was a 9-point margin.

Anyone interested in the integrity of our representative government should be calling for an end to gerrymandering. As Secretary of State, the State’s chief elections official, Mike will be the biggest cheerleader for this change.

It was great that a bill, HB 1009 was introduced in the 2006 short session to end gerrymandering, but most disappointing that it wasn’t deemed worthy of moving forward for a vote.

Districts should be redrawn to be more geographic in orientation. Mike Kole backs an end to gerrymandering, and urges passage of the bill, HB 1009.

Promoting Voter Turnout

As Secretary of State, Mike will make it a high priority to urge all Hoosiers to vote in our elections.

The turnout for the 2006 Primaries was embarrassing, with a mere 23% of voters casting ballots statewide.

As the top elections official, the Secretary of State should actively urge Hoosiers to vote.

The current Secretary of State spent $1.2 million in ads promoting voter ID, but spent nothing urging Hoosiers to vote. That’s a case of misplaced priorities. Let's make sure Hoosiers are getting to the polls, then we can worry about checking the ID.