New Zogby Poll On Electronic Voting Attitudes

New Zogby Poll: It’s Nearly Unanimous

Monday, 21 August 2006, 11:00 pm
Article: Michael Collins

A recent Zogby poll documents ground breaking information on the attitudes of American voters toward electronic voting. They are quite clear in the belief that the outcome of an entire election can be changed due to flaws in computerized voting machines. At a stunning rate of 92%, Americans insist on the right to watch their votes being counted. And, at an overwhelming 80%, they strongly object to the use of secret computer software to tabulate votes without citizen access to that software.

The American public is clear in its desire for free, fair, and transparent elections. An 80%-90% consensus on the right to view vote counting and opposition to secrecy by voting machine vendor is both rare and remarkable in American politics. If only the public knew that these options are virtually non existent in today’s election system.

Viewing vote counting will soon become a process of watching computers, somewhat akin to watching the radio, but without sound. Secret vote counting with computer software that citizens cannot review is now a fait accompli. Most contracts between boards of elections and voting equipment manufacturers bar both elections officials and members of the public from any access to the most important computer software; the source code that directs all the functions of the voting machines, including vote counting.

As a result of the 2002 Help America Vote Act (HAVA), a majority of these voters will be using touch screen voting machines with a lesser amount using special paper ballots counted by optical scanning devices. There are very few localities using paper ballots for the November 2006 election. If the federal government gets its way, they will be a thing of the past.

The supreme irony is that HAVA was sold to Congress as the solution to the problems of the Florida 2000 election. Of course, we now know that as many as 50,000 black Floridians were wrongly removed from the voting rolls through a highly suspect “felon purge” that missed felons but captured legitimate registered voters. And we know further that over 100,000 ballots in mostly black precincts were disqualified due to the old voter suppression standby, “spoiled ballots. ” Neither of those voting rights and civil rights problems is addressed by HAVA. It’s all about “the machines.”

A Zogby Poll was commissioned and sponsored by election rights and business law attorney Paul Lehto of Everett. Washington. This author, Michael Collins, Editor, was a contributing sponsor. It consisted of 1018 interviews over a five day period beginning August 11, 2006. For further details, please see the “Appendix” at the end of this article.

This article focuses on three key questions from the survey. The responses reveal public attitudes as they were measured very recently. The outcome should give policy makers and bureaucrats serious pause for reflection upon just exactly what they have done to America’s system of elections and just how far from public beliefs they have strayed.