Why are the voting machines even touch screen?

I’m missing something. There are multiple videos of voting machines where someone presses a touch screen and the vote registers for the other guy. The machines are “miscalibrated”.

It seems to me that this whole problem could be avoided if the screen was a simple LCD, and had physical buttons on the side labelled #1, #2, etc, and lined up with rows on screen for the candidates. The buttons could have cherry switches that would easily last hundreds of thousands of votes before failure, and are not as sensitive as touch screens, and no calibration problems could even enter the picture.

So why are these voting machines touch screen?

correlating an off screen button could be confusing for some. also some people may have difficulty hitting a smaller real button, a large onscreen button is easier to hit.

the machines do have to work well for these benefits to be useful.

Contractors don’t necessarily give the government what it needs.
And the Government doesn’t always know what it should want.

Often contractors will give the government what will make the most money for the contractor. Also, the government can be incredibly stupid at times and “touch screen” is sexier than blunt button. The demonstrations that sell these items to the government do not reveal the problems (obviously). When the contractor sold touch screens to PA or whomever, the demo was probably flawless and the idea and very very bad situation of “miscalibration” never discussed.

I love my voting method – fill in the bubble, then scan it. Paper trail too!

Because after the 2000 election, liberals demanded electronic voting machines so we wouldn’t have to deal with “hanging chads” again.

What the hell is wrong with pen and paper?? It’s the best technology for the job. Anything else is just silly and makes me question the motives of those arguing for it.

Because people demand to know who won by 5 minutes after the polls close.

Human error and fatigue can lead to miscounts. Electronic has the advantage of accuracy and a fast review of the record.
If it’s not tampered with.

You’ve made this claim before, and it’s not my recollection. Liberals wanted paper ballots to leave a paper trail. They didn’t like electronic voting precisely gbecause it didn’t.

Put up or shut up.

With paper ballots, and enough people staffing the polling stations, you can have a first count about 2 hours after the polls close.

The state I live in, NC, does a lot of things wrong. But the voting system it uses is the best.

It’s a simple paper ballot; you fill in the circles with black ink, and it gets scanned.

It’s fast, accurate, inexpensive, and auditable. (NC also does random audits.) So, while hacking is possible (as it is with any digital system), cheating is detectable.

Screen-based systems are for cases where it’s more important to spend government money unnecessarily than to have a good voting system.

I’ve been watching teachers grade tests by scanning bubbles filled in with #2 pencils since I was a kid 25 years ago. You can easily electronically scan and count votes with pen and paper. In fact, that’s exactly how my vote was cast this morning.

Scanned pen and paper can be tallying all day long. This morning I filled out my form and I personally fed it into the machine. Presumably it scanned my selections and is keeping a running tally. The result will be ready at 8PM tonight when polls close.
Also, should a recount be necessary, the paper ballots are available – both for rescan and human count.

Even if you pick the wrong person, the touchscreens our county uses show you a summary of what you picked before you’re done. When you’re happy with the summary you touch a big giant “Submit your Vote” button.

That is how the ballots are done where I live as well. Voting machines of any sort are a boondoggle. When I voted in New Mexico they had the big mechanical machines so you had to wait in line for people to vote. With the paper fill in the bubble ballots you can cheaply set up a room allowing 20 people to be filling out their ballots.

What CalMeacham said ([post=15668421]Post #8, above[/post]).

IIRC (sorry, don’t have actual cites at my fingertips), the mantra of 2000 was:Punched cards with chads = baaaaaaad.

Electronic (screen or GUI based) voting machines = also baaaaaaad! (Especially since a major manufacturer was widely known, or at least widely alleged, to have highly partisan Republican management.)

Pen-and-paper ballots (of the fill-in-the-bubble variety, which is how I think they ALL are these days) are electronic too, of course – since they are optically scanned by an electronic machine. I am having a hard time imagining why anybody sees any advantage to anything more “new-fangled” than that.

I think the electronic machine manufacturers have simply done a majestic marketing and sales job for a new whiz-bang product that the world simply doesn’t really need.

I never quite understood the appeal of those old machines with all the levers either. To be sure, I’ve never actually seen one and I don’t know how they work. I think machines with lots of levers are best suited for selling little soap boxes at the laundromat.

Something strikes me as humorous about this. After you poke all the on-screen choices, you get a big red window that says:

The real problem is that the winner of the election is always a politician!

I’ve never seen one in person either, let alone used one, but they look awesome. I’ve always wanted to vote on one, and probably never will. But to me, that’s voting.

We have fill-in-the-circle ballots now, and those seem the safest to me, and just as fast as any other method. There’s a machine at the end that scans the ballot, so the tallies can be kept electronically just like touch screen. It also checks for too many votes for the same office, so if you vote for both Romney and Obama, it will spit it back out.

The problem with the US elections, as the Canadian meme has it, is that you even elect dogcatcher (and sometimes even judges). The other thread, why so long lineups, mentions the ballot can run to pages and pages, and one question can be several paragraphs.

By contrast, the most complex election I’ve had in Canada, they gave me a ballot for councillors (pick 7), a ballot for school board (i.e. pick 5) and a ballot for mayor (pick 1). Put a check in the circle beside your choice. As a result, you could vote in 30 seconds and it was counted within an hour or two usually.

The thing about screens, you can program the most complex ballots to just be screen after screen like an online survey until it’s complete. However, the video shows that the punch point on the screen not only did not line up, but the area beside Obama selected Romney unless you picked a very tiny sliver along the bottom of Obama’s name. This suggests either (a) someone very stupidly entered wrong numbers for box dimensions - on just one machine - or (b) something more sinster.

Digital scanners can monkey with the results too, but that’s easy to double check with a hand count.

To my mind, the ideal electronic voter machine prints a nice neat laser-printed, human and machine-readable balllot that is then deposited in the box; and scanned or hand-counted (or both) afterwards. Electrons can disappear easily. Paper takes a lot more work to monkey with.

Gah! Here in Michigan, we don’t just elect judges, we also elect the fucking supreme court justices. It’s “non-partisan” which just means the highly partisan nominees don’t have their parties listed.