NYTimes.com Article: The Disability Lobby and Voting

From: <arthur_at_kellers_dot_org>
Date: Fri Jun 11 2004 - 11:30:07 CDT

The article below from NYTimes.com
has been sent to you by arthur@kellers.org.

Today's New York Times editorial.

arthur@kellers.org

/--------- E-mail Sponsored by Fox Searchlight ------------\

THE CLEARING - IN THEATERS JULY 2 - WATCH THE TRAILER NOW

An official selection of the 2004 Sundance Film Festival, THE CLEARING
stars ROBERT REDFORD and HELEN MIRREN as Wayne and Eileen Hayes - a
husband and wife living the American Dream. Together they've raised two
children and struggled to build a successful business from the ground
up. But there have been sacrifices along the way. When Wayne is
kidnapped by an ordinary man, Arnold Mack (WILLEM DAFOE), and held for
ransom in a remote forest, the couple's world is turned inside out.
Watch the trailer at: http://www.foxsearchlight.com/theclearing/index_nyt.html

\----------------------------------------------------------/

The Disability Lobby and Voting

June 11, 2004
 

 

Two obvious requirements for a fair election are that
voters should have complete confidence about their ballots'
being counted accurately and that everyone, including the
disabled, should have access to the polls. It is hard to
imagine advocates for those two goals fighting, but lately
that seems to be what's happening.

The issue is whether electronic voting machines should
provide a "paper trail" - receipts that could be checked by
voters and used in recounts. There has been a rising demand
around the country for this critical safeguard, but the
move to provide paper trails is being fought by a handful
of influential advocates for the disabled, who complain
that requiring verifiable paper records will slow the
adoption of accessible electronic voting machines.

The National Federation of the Blind, for instance, has
been championing controversial voting machines that do not
provide a paper trail. It has attested not only to the
machines' accessibility, but also to their security and
accuracy - neither of which is within the federation's
areas of expertise. What's even more troubling is that the
group has accepted a $1 million gift for a new training
institute from Diebold, the machines' manufacturer, which
put the testimonial on its Web site. The federation stands
by its "complete confidence" in Diebold even though several
recent studies have raised serious doubts about the
company, and California has banned more than 14,000 Diebold
machines from being used this November because of doubts
about their reliability.

Disability-rights groups have had an outsized influence on
the debate despite their general lack of background on
security issues. The League of Women Voters has been a
leading opponent of voter-verifiable paper trails, in part
because it has accepted the disability groups' arguments.

Last year, the American Association of People With
Disabilities gave its Justice for All award to Senator
Christopher Dodd, an author of the Help America Vote Act, a
post-2000 election reform law. Mr. Dodd, who has actively
opposed paper trails, then appointed Jim Dickson, an
association official, to the Board of Advisors of the
Election Assistance Commission, where he will be in a good
position to oppose paper trails at the federal level. In
California, a group of disabled voters recently sued to
undo the secretary of state's order decertifying the
electronic voting machines that his office had found to be
unreliable.

Some supporters of voter-verifiable paper trails question
whether disability-rights groups have gotten too close to
voting machine manufacturers. Besides the donation by
Diebold to the National Federation of the Blind, there have
been other gifts. According to Mr. Dickson, the American
Association of People with Disabilities has received
$26,000 from voting machine companies this year.

The real issue, though, is that disability-rights groups
have been clouding the voting machine debate by suggesting
that the nation must choose between accessible voting and
verifiable voting.

It is well within the realm of technology to produce
machines that meet both needs. Meanwhile, it would be a
grave mistake for election officials to rush to spend
millions of dollars on paperless electronic voting machines
that may quickly become obsolete.

Disabled people have historically faced great obstacles at
the polls, and disability-rights groups are right to work
zealously for accessible voting. But they should not
overlook the fact that the disabled, like all Americans,
also have an interest in ensuring that their elections are
not stolen.

http://www.nytimes.com/2004/06/11/opinion/11FRI1.html?ex=1087971407&ei=1&en=6c9855522af458f6

---------------------------------

Get Home Delivery of The New York Times Newspaper. Imagine
reading The New York Times any time & anywhere you like!
Leisurely catch up on events & expand your horizons. Enjoy
now for 50% off Home Delivery! Click here:

http://homedelivery.nytimes.com/HDS/SubscriptionT1.do?mode=SubscriptionT1&ExternalMediaCode=W24AF

HOW TO ADVERTISE
---------------------------------
For information on advertising in e-mail newsletters
or other creative advertising opportunities with The
New York Times on the Web, please contact
onlinesales@nytimes.com or visit our online media
kit at http://www.nytimes.com/adinfo

For general information about NYTimes.com, write to
help@nytimes.com.

Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company
==================================================================
= The content of this message, with the exception of any external
= quotations under fair use, are released to the Public Domain
==================================================================
Received on Wed Jun 30 23:17:12 2004

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.8 : Wed Jun 30 2004 - 23:17:30 CDT