On today's BradCast, as voters head to the polls for the big Presidential Primary in Indiana --- where many of them will again cast 100% unverifiable votes on touch-screen voting systems --- a Republican State Senator from Missouri joins us to explain his bill to do away with such systems in the Show-Me State. [Link to audio of the show at bottom of article.]
In April, St. Louis County held a disastrous local primary election in which, for the first time in years, they used only paper ballots at the polling places, since election officials said they did not have enough time, following the state's Presidential Primary in March, to reprogram the County's touch-screen systems. The County has long given voters the option to vote on hand-marked, optically-scanned paper ballots or on unverifiable touch-screen systems, with more and more voters choosing paper, even as local election officials encouraged them to vote on the oft-failed, easily-manipulated touch-screen machines.
The April disaster occurred when the County's co-Election Directors (one Democrat and one Republican, both of whom have gone on record to state they love the touch-screens and regard them as virtually infallible) failed to provide the correct paper ballots to some 60 precincts. There are now multiple ongoing investigations into the disaster from the state level on down. The Democratic Director has now been suspended and the Republican has tendered his resignation.
It's hardly the first time St. Louis County has screwed up their elections, but those human errors can be corrected with competent personnel. What can never be corrected is the fact that, for example, in the state's Presidential Primary in March, the reported margins of victory were so small (just over a thousand votes on each side), and the number of votes cast on unverifiable touch-screens in MO so large, that it is impossible to know if Trump actually beat Cruz on the Republican side and if Clinton actually beat Sanders on the Democratic side. Not a great way to run elections in the once-key swing state of Missouri.
Republican state Senator Bob Onder joins me on today's program to discuss his bill (SB 771) that calls for doing away with the state's touch-screen voting systems all together. Acknowledging the recent paper ballot foul-ups, Onder explains why the touch-screens are still worse: "you can't audit an electron."
"Only with a paper ballot can we have an auditable, verifiable record of a voter's intent as he or she casts a vote and exercises their most sacred privilege in our democratic republic, which is the right to vote," he says, going on to recall another local election in 2014 "in which the margin was very tight" and where "the loser in that election" is "not really sure he lost."
The GOP's Asst. Majority Floor Leader in the State Senate tells me about the various obstacles his legislation is facing, including from the state's Democratic Secretary of State Jason Kander who, he says, "is a big fan of electronic voting machines" and "an enemy of paper ballots."
It's a fascinating and encouraging conversation over all...at least until we discuss the MO Republicans' continuing push for disenfranchising Photo ID voting restrictions in the state, which Onder, unfortunately, supports (though apparently based on fraudulent information provided to him by some notorious GOP "voter fraud" hucksters, as I explain during the program.)
But, hey, we'll take what we can get! And if Republicans are willing to work with the long-time Election Integrity champions at Missourians for Honest Elections on the issue of banning touch-screens, I'll take it! We can try to get Dems on board and fight with Republicans about everything else on another day.
Also on today BradCast: Republican officials in WI and in KS continue their effort to suppress the vote and Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report' with good news for lions, elephants and children, but not so good for opponents of fracking...
(Snail mail support to "Brad Friedman, 7095 Hollywood Blvd., #594 Los Angeles, CA 90028" always welcome too!)