New York Times

New York Times, January 30, 2001

"Let's Simplify Voting"

Re "Nation Awash in Ideas for Changing Voting" (news article, Jan. 28):

The electronic voting devices being proposed by self-interested computer companies are subject to large-scale tampering. We need a simple, standardized, low-tech system like marking an "X" on an easily readable piece of paper.

Canada votes that way and counts its ballots within a couple of hours.  There is no advantage to knowing the result the instant the polls close, but an imperative that a verifiable paper trail for a vote be established.  Machine voting does not produce a more accurate tally.

Since about half of eligible voters do not go to the polls, we also have to look at why our democracy is so anemic. Procedures like instant runoff voting and proportional representation would give many  more Americans reason to participate.

- Andrew J. Humm, New York

(The writer is editor of Social Policy magazine.)