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Frank A. Douglass Insurance Agency

New Voting Machines Could Be Replaced

A study of Michigan’s use of optical scan voting machines concludes that they have an unacceptable error rate, are deteriorating as they surpass a decade in age and should be replaced with human hand counts. The study, conducted by the Michigan Election Reform Alliance, which includes several of those individuals involved in unsuccessful efforts to recall Governor Rick Snyder, reviewed ballots from 31 precincts in Allegan County from the 2008 election, specifically for the State Board of Education race. The group found the average error rate for the optical scan tabulators to be 0.21 percent from the hand count – or one of every 500 ballots – which it says is not good enough to decide races with a margin of victory no larger than 0.2 percent. The state moved to the optical scan system following the 2000 election when the Florida presidential election recount left the punch card system, which was used in many Michigan jurisdictions, discredited. The group is advocating that the state move to a hand count system instead of purchasing replacement optical scan machines, which could cost $65 million. It estimated the cost of hiring more election workers at $20 million over 10 years.

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