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In swing states, electronic ballots continue to cause controversy

Early voters fill out their ballots as they cast their votes before the general election in Miami, Florida.
Early voters fill out their ballots as they cast their votes before the general election in Miami, Florida.
Joe Raedle/Getty Images

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Voters using electronic ballots are on guard this year – as election day approaches, technical problems and controversial ownership issues haunt electronic vote machines in several battleground states. In Ohio, electronic ballots are cast with machines owned by Hart InterCivic, a company with financial ties to Mitt Romney’s Bain and Co., Tagg Romney’s Solamere, and several Romney campaign donors.

The links between the Republican candidate and the Ohio machines have sparked worry and discussion about the potential for a repeat of the 2004 Diebold controversy. In Pennsylvania, Virginia, Colorado, and Florida, e-voting machines have been reported to have hard-to-detect glitches which may be impossible to correct. Problems with voting machines can have a serious impact on an election this close, especially in hotly contested states, where a single machine with a significant malfunction could sway the entire race.

According to new reports, electronic ballots in battleground states could compromise the integrity of the election, prompting demands from anxious voters for paper ballot backup. Should states use electronic ballot machines to tally votes? How should the economic ties between candidates and the companies that own e-voting machines factor into their use in an election? Do you prefer to vote on paper ballots, or with a machine?


David Dill, Founder, Verified Voting  - non-governmental organization working toward accuracy, integrity and verifiability of elections; Professor of Computer Science, Stanford University

Lori Steele, Chairman & CEO, Everyone Counts, Inc. -- a San Diego based Internet voting company that provides services for governments across the country