Savannah Morning News // Letters to the Editor
The New York Times in its editorial, “Combating a Real Threat to Election Integrity,” addresses an important issue for Georgians. The article identifies the many and varied ways in which voting machines in many states – and Georgia is one of them – create an uncertain voting environment.
It is breathtaking to think that anyone believes voting on machines that are over 15 years old is satisfactory. No one would entrust any other part of their lives to a computer that old – a computer beyond warranties and that is not supported by manufacturers. Yet this is only the beginning of the issues that we must address.
The list is long: hours or locations making it difficult to vote; mazes of regulations on absentee voting; complex and discriminatory voter registration requirements; training of poll workers; a dangerous lack of security for machines. I am not alleging that any of these were the deciding factor in the outcome of an election, but when combined with the issues the NYT identifies, that day is not far away and it well could be in Georgia. A comprehensive assessment and prioritization of key steps – as has been recommended to Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp by the Department of Homeland Security – to improve the election system would be a far better expenditure of monies than looking for those rare individuals who voted from the grave.
New York Times
Congress needs to allocate more money now to help states upgrade their equipment and computer systems, and to perform threat assessments. A key player is the federal Election Assistance Commission, which sets certification standards that almost every state relies on in buying new machines. The commission, established after the 2000 election debacle, has a tiny staff and a budget smaller than a rounding error. Its work has never been more urgently needed, and yet congressional Republicans are perpetually trying to kill it.