In my post late Sunday about election fraud in Kentucky, I wasn't as clear on one point as I probably should have been. In the comments, Brad Friedman, who responded quite nicely to the post, says "No machine should offer a "receipt" for votes (if by "receipt" you mean something the voter can take home, and then use to buy/sell votes if they'd like). If the machines in question had offered a so-called "Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail" (VVPAT) as many DREs do, the voters would have been no better off, since those are not printed until after the vote had been manipulated in the KY scheme." With the first part, I absolutely agree. What I should have been clearer about is that the receipt I envision is a printout that the voter examines to ensure the votes were recorded as they wished, and then that printout is placed into a separate lockbox, to be held as a physical representation of the vote in case of an audit or a recount. It would serve as the official vote in case there were any discrepancies between the machine count and an audit or recount. I disagree with Brad's conclusion, but that's probably due more to my lack of explanation about the sort of DRE system I would find acceptable (though not prefer, to be clear). In the end, the thing I'm most concerned about is free and fair elections, and whatever system offers the best combination of security and transparency in tabulation, and most importantly, which is best designed to fail well.
It's in that vein that I want to second this update from Brad in which he says he doesn't care about the political affiliations of the people involved. I don't either. This is a case where I am completely non-partisan. I don't want to win an election by cheating, even if the candidate I support promises the greatest progressive reforms on the planet. I'm not an "ends justify the means" person on this subject.
But I do want to clear up a misunderstanding--at least I hope it's a misunderstanding. Brad, in linking to my post, says "And no, the same scheme to change the votes of voters without their knowledge, a major aspect of the alleged crimes, could not have happened the same way with paper ballots, as some, like this blogger, have suggested."
I never suggested that--in fact, I said the opposite. I wrote "This case illustrates how a paper ballot or receipt would make it more difficult to interfere at the 'voter at the machine' stage of the election." It was a long post, and could have easily been overlooked, so I'm giving Brad the benefit of the doubt here. I guess I didn't make this point clearly enough last time, so I'll be explicit here: the machine design made this kind of scheme easier, no question, but I stand my position that the machines themselves didn't fail. The corrupt election officials hacked the election system, not the machines, and this was only one part of a far more complex election rigging scheme.