Let’s go back to paper ballots – Peter Degedo

Spread the love

Michael Barone: Let’s go back to paper ballots

by Michael Barone | Sep 12, 2017, 1:43 PM

Mickey Kaus notes that the Netherlands is going to go back to conducting its elections with paper ballots. “Dutch go old school against Russian hacking,” he notes, linking to a Politico Europe story. Kaus adds an appropriate shout-out to Glenn Reynolds of Instapundit, who has been calling for paper ballots for years.

Going back to paper ballots may strike many people, as it used to strike me, as retrograde. Isn’t it a lot faster to count electronic votes? Isn’t there a danger that paper ballots can be altered, defaced, and burned? Isn’t electronic voting cooler and more up to date?

But the arguments against paper ballots wither under inspection. Speed of counting: Why do we need an immediate result? The press has exit polls, of varying and perhaps improving worth (Britain’s was much better this year than in 2015 and 2016). And speaking of Britain, it only takes until about 5:00am the night of election day, to have the results in for all (save maybe one or two) parliamentary constituencies. California, in contrast, takes four to five weeks to count all its ballots — California, the home of Silicon Valley!

The fact is that sacrificing a bit of speed for reliability is probably a good trade. The strongest argument for paper ballots is that they can’t be hacked. The second strongest is that there is an independent record of each ballot cast, which some computerized systems lack.

It may take a long time to count ballots in some states where they include many offices and ballot propositions, but people can wait. And recounts of paper ballots can result in disputes over hanging chads and the like, but these are difficulties our republic has been handling for over 200 years. My vote is for paper ballots.

Source: Michael Barone: Let’s go back to paper ballots