May 7, 2007
New state and federal laws may force Charlottesville, a pioneer in electronic voting, to ditch the new machines and go back to paper ballots.
The problem is, when it comes to voting, people are uneasy with the so-called digital age.
In 2002, Charlottesville was the first precinct in the state to use the electronic voting machines, which store votes digitally without any proof on paper of the vote.
Many people fear that without the physical evidence of their vote, it did not count.
For this reason, a new state law says no more of those machines can be bought and used. Furthermore, a federal bill may outlaw those machines all together for the 2008 presidential election.
In their place, optical scan machines will be used. These machines scan paper ballots where voters use pencils to fill in the bubbles next to the candidates they choose. To city election officials, this way of voting is less than ideal.
"If the voting public doesn't have confidence that their vote is counted, it doesn't matter if it is the best machine in the world," explained the disappointed voting registrar, Sheri Iachetta. "I think we are taking a huge step backwards, and I think it's terrible."
Sheri says if they change their machines, it is because they are being 'forced.' She is adverse to switching to optical machines because she loves the electronic ones and says they have had no problems with them.
Iachetta is meeting with the electoral board Tuesday morning to go over all the options. She says that the most viable option right now is to sell the electronic machines to states that can still use them, and then buy the optical machines.
The deadline to switch over would be by the primaries in February of 2008.