Letters to the Editor
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No Paper, No Election
Dear Bay Weekly:
No paper trail means no valid election. No paper means —
- That even when errors are found, such as more votes than ballots cast, they can't be corrected. A 2003 report identified 328 Diebold vulnerabilities, 26 of them high risk. In Maryland's 2004 election, there were 200 errors in Diebold's machinery.
- A potential for undetectable vote tampering. A 13-year-old can forge a card that can stop a Diebold machine from recording votes. In one case the PIN was a simple 1111. Maryland's election czar is wrong: Paperless voting machines are computers and thus bait for hackers. Diebold's brochure claims its machines are reliable because they run on a Microsoft Windows platform — a platform notorious for security difficulties!
- Our election czar will continue to dictate to voters at the polls who say they distrust the machines and request a paper ballot: Either use the machines or forfeit your right to vote.
- Suits like crazy after the 2006 election wherever there is a close race. In 2004, a North Carolina court ordered a statewide special election costing $3.5 million because 4,438 votes were swallowed by one paperless machine. Maryland has had several narrow elections in recent years: Mary Rosso in the race for delegate in District 31 in 1998 by six votes, Don Lamb in the race for delegate in District 30 in 1986 by three votes.
- Declining confidence in our election system. Nationally, it was down to 38 percent in 2004. Paper trails are now mandatory in nine states and may soon be in five more. Paper trails are supported by nearly all the leading computer experts in the country.
- Voters will soon consider voting machines akin to slot machines. Sometimes you win, but mostly you lose. Sometimes your vote counts but mostly it doesn't.
Support SB 9 and HB 107. Use absentee ballots in 2006 to protest. No paper, no election!
—J.A. Hoage, Severna Park
Shears without Tears Thanks to Bay Gardener
Dear Bay Weekly:
March blew in and along with it marching orders from Dr. Frank Gouin, who takes no hostages when it comes to pruning. Reading Dr. Gouin's tough-love approach to pruning in your new column, The Bay Gardner, I've gotten the courage to tackle the crape myrtles in my yard. I will never fear pruning shears again, thanks to the doctor's motivational column.
—M.L. Faunce, Churchton