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Chatham primary elections, good and bad

By John Bonitz
Posted Friday, June 2, 2006

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Silk Hope, NC - Well, the primary election went off without many obvious problems.

Most all anecdotal reports from May 2 were of diligence and vigilance from our poll-workers and elections staff. They are a hard-working bunch, and I for one, am very grateful for their efforts using the paper ballots. The paper ballot system once again proved its robustness, and voters' trust was affirmed.

Early voting was a different story, however. The computerized DRE voting machines showed a few voters how dangerous they can be. The 60-something extra votes for David Price were a clear sign of the inherent flaws of computerized voting: This problem was discoverable -- imagine the problems that could remain invisible! Numerous voters (including Pittsboro Mayor Randy Voller) reported touchscreen malfunctions, and had to repeatedly select their choice before the machine "got it." Many voters are still sore about the perceived arrogance and bias of BOE decisions over the past few months: In my precinct, a shocking 10% of registered voters used "absentee ballots" to vote early, probably out of mistrust for the computerized system.

A lawsuit against the BOE proceeds with questions of illegal meetings and public documents violations hanging overhead.

Handicapped and early voters should not be relegated to use of untrustworthy voting systems. The public's confidence in our elections should not be theatened by inscrutable black-box machines and the risk of 1,000s of votes being lost irretrievably. Chatham taxpayers should not be burdened with expensive, unreliable, untested contraptions.

As an attempt to heal the distrust, a petition has been composed to request that the BOE remove electronic voting machines from service here in our county.

I encourage all Chatham Citizens who are grateful for trustworthy elections to sign, and ask your friends to sign. It only takes a minute.

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