Salt Lake County Utah's Mayor Peter Corroon says:
"The County budget for 2007 doesn't include money for more machines. Corroon says technical support and housing for existing machines has cost the county "millions and millions" of dollars already and he hopes the state and federal governments step up and help with the expense."
Salt Lake Mayor Peter Corroon is the cousin of Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean.
Regardless of whether the county, state or feds pay for voting systems, the funds come from taxpayer pockets.
Salt Lake County's election administration costs could be reduced (almost in half) by switching to an optical scan paper ballot system to save money, reduce poll lines and increase voting system trustworthiness.
Utah's Lt. Governor Gary Herbert strong-armed Utah's counties into selecting an expensive, insecure voting system by withholding federal funds for any county which did not agree to purchase Diebold touch-screen voting systems. Herbert's office also had a secret executive session meeting with Emery County Commissioners and Diebold representatives after which the only County Clerk, Bruce Funk, who said he refused to use Diebold DRE voting machines, had the locks changed on his office door to prevent this 23 year elected veteran election official from going to work.
Here are some cost studies comparing the costs of using direct recording electronic (DRE) machines with optical scan machines:
North Carolina (4 counties)
New York (projected costs DRE vs. Optical Scan)
Florida Cost Comparison study (all counties)
Maryland Governor on Diebold touchscreen costs:
Summary of cost comparison studies in FL, NY, CT, NC, and OH by Verified Voting
A majority of U.S. jurisdictions use optical scan voting systems today. Several jurisdictions currently using touch-screen DREs are planning to switch to optical scan voting systems - including Cuyahoga County, OH, Sarasota County, FL and all of MD (often over the objections of their election officials who seem to be unduly influenced by voting machine vendor salespersons in an almost cultish fashion).
Last week, the NIST (national institute of standards and technology) stated:
"NIST does not know how to write testable requirements to make DREs secure, and NIST's recommendation ... is that the DRE in practical terms cannot be made secure."
Utah has an insecure, software dependent, and, for all practical purposes, "paperless" voting system because the Lt. Governor's manual audit procedure is not verifiable.
Utah's election officials refused to publicly release the actual DRE machine counts that were used to tabulate votes on the central tabulators, so Utahns do not know if the vote counts found in our manual paper audits match the electronic counts used in tabulating vote totals.
Utah's sham audit procedure merely compared two paper records that were found not to match the electronic records in 10% of the overall votes counted in Cuyahoga County, OH.
Utah voters do not know whether Diebold machines recorded and tallied votes correctly in either the June primary or the November general election. Diebold programming errors were found in three of Utah's counties so far. These ballot programming errors meant that some voters were given the wrong ballots and that poll opening was delayed in one county. Utah election officials have not yet investigated to see what the extent of the problem was in other counties.
It is time to start being rational about our voting systems - not throw good money after sunk costs.