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Electronic Voting Raises Fears of Glitches, Fraud

After the problems of the 2000 presidential elections, electronic voting machines were designed to make casting and counting ballots easier and more accurate. But recent problems encountered in several states using the new machines have raised concerns about their reliability and susceptibility to fraud.

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    In a new major studio movie, Robin Williams plays a marginal presidential candidate who, shockingly, wins, aided by a computer glitch in electronic voting machines.



  • LAURA LINNEY, Actress:

    You're going to be president of the United States.


    Even though no real-life electronic vote fraud has been proven, fear of it seems widespread. Two-thirds of respondents in a recent CNN poll said computer hackers were likely to change vote counts in next week's elections.

    Electronic voting has some people longing for good-old paper ballots, or at least paper verification of their electronic vote.

  • VOTER:

    I would feel more confident that my vote would be counted if there was actually a paper trial to verify the vote.


    But even equipping the all-electronic vote machines with paper backups has run into trouble. In Ohio's May primary, 10 percent of those backup paper ballots jammed in the machines or were otherwise unreadable.


    What was your reaction when you heard that they weren't working? What did you think?

  • VOTER:

    I said, "Here we go again, because they're always messing up."


    One Ohio voter smashed an electronic voting machine.

    In a state that pioneered electronic voting, Maryland, September primary voters waited for hours just to get to their touch-screen machines because workers forgot to bring the access cards that activate them.

  • VOTER:

    I think someone probably needs to lose their job over this.


    And Colorado voters, using electronic voting machines for the first time ever in August, had problems. The result was a lawsuit aimed at decertifying their use in the state.

    But the most serious charge against electronic voting is that it's too vulnerable to tampering, including malicious hacking aimed at changing an election result deliberately.

    REP. DENNIS KUCINICH (D), Ohio: There is such a powerful awareness among the American people about this question of the deficiencies in the technology that it has actually undermined confidence in the election process.