Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Northwestern Coverage of the Diebold Vote is Right On:

Here is the story - My favorite parts are highlighted:

Grant, Diebold get nods in county

County Board votes 28-10 to approve reimbursable purchase for touch-screen ballot machines

By Alex Hummel of The Northwestern

You will officially have the choice of darkening ovals or tapping touch-screens in Winnebago County come September.

The Winnebago County Board voted 28-10 Tuesday to spend $288,000 on 50 touch-screen voting machines, one for each county polling place. The technology is recommended by the county's municipal clerks to comply with federal election law. But it continues to rile skeptics warning of 21st century election meddling.

A first attempt to approve the purchase failed in a May board vote, lacking a needed supermajority.

Tuesday's vote was preceded by one more call for delay, additional emphasis on reports of Diebold Election Systems security flaws and new demands to listen to the disabled community, the largely-ignored and long-disenfranchised voting population the new technology is intended to empower.

"Now is not the time to act," said Supervisor Shiloh Ramos of Neenah, urging an August vote so officials could investigate the Help America Vote Act options to satisfy disabled and blind voters. "Now is the time to listen. Now is the time to investigate."

The Help America Vote Act requires improved access to elections for physically disabled, visually-impaired and blind Americans. In Wisconsin, municipal clerks were given the power to recommend which Help America Vote Act-compliant remedies polling places should use.

Winnebago County's clerks favor Diebold's touch-screens, compatible with the county's existing electronic scan ballot counters. The county was tapped as a central purchaser of the technology and will be reimbursed by the federal government.

One touch-screen machine is planned for each of the county's 48 polling places. The city of Oshkosh and Winnebago County each get one extra to help program digital ballots. Clerks ensure the Diebold equipment is safe and secure. But even Tuesday, concerns about security and paper trails dominated debate.

"When I go to a bank and a TYME machine, I get a receipt," said Supervisor Bill Wingren of Oshkosh.
County Clerk Sue Ertmer stressed without the vote Tuesday, it would have been up to the county's individual towns, cities and villages to hustle up and comply with the Vote Act on their own. The technology needs to be in place by this approaching election cycle.

"We can't just wait until July," Ertmer told the board.

If you put Supervisor Ramos' comment together with County Clerk Ertmer's, don't you end up with:

"There is a time to think and there is a time to act. And this, gentlemen, is no time to think." (Bud Boomer, Canadian Bacon)

P.S. - I agreed with Supervisor Ramos 100%

I will have my debate and vote recap of this issue up tonight, hopefully.



Blogger responsible said...

What I do not agree with is the argument made by Supervisor Weber and others that if the board were to turn it down the clerks would do it anyway. Wouldn't those same clerks have to go to their respective councils and boards for approval? Would the Oshkosh City Council approve the Diebold machine?

4:12 PM  

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