Local News

Possible Voting Verification Measures Face Scrutiny

Posted July 7, 2005 8:31 a.m. EDT

— Last fall, the votes of more than 4,400 people were lost in

Carteret County

. Now, work to prevent a similar mishap may be in jeopardy. There is disagreement on the best way to verify your vote.

When it comes to making sure a machine records your vote, grassroots activists put their confidence in a paper trail.

"The verification standard should be a paper that someone can view," said Bob Phillips, of Common Cause.

A Senate committee is moving forward on a bill to require that all machines print a paper document and allow the voter to check it for errors before it is cast. However, elections officials say even paper is not perfect.

"There are issues associated with paper, like paper jams, scrolling rolls, ink problems," said Gary Bartlett, director of the state Board of Elections.

Officials are pushing for a pilot program to allow some counties to try machines with new technologies like encryption and audio.

Some say questions about the new technology could put the rest of the bill in jeopardy. However, Sen. Ellie Kinnaird, D-Orange, who sponsored the bill, disagrees.

"We have to accommodate those who want a piece of paper that they mark and can count and those who say technology is improving and there's something out there that may be much better than we have now," Kinnaird said.

U.S. lawmakers have introduced a handful of bills that would add checks and balances when voting, but one of those bills have passed.