Wednesday, November 17, 2021

LA New Voting System Must Have Auditable Paper Record

As Louisiana looks to Update its Aging Voting System, One Element marked as Essential, by State Leaders, is that the New Machines Must be able to Produce an Auditable Paper Record.

Louisiana convened a New Commission, Wednesday, that will decide what Technology will Replace Thousands of the State's Old Voting Machines, after previous efforts were Unsuccessful.

The current Machines, which are Decades-old, cannot produce Auditable Paper Records. Mostly Republican Lawmakers imposed the New Rules requiring, the Replacement Machines to leave an Auditable Paper Trail.

The New Voting System Commission, has 13 Members ranging from Lawmakers to Election Experts. Secretary-of-State Kyle Ardoin (R), and the Chief Elections Official in the State, was chosen to Chair the Group.

The Panel's First Meeting, on Wednesday, focused on Examining the Current System used throughout Louisiana and the Rules for Election Operations. The Group has to recommend Voting Systems by January 31st, 2022, clearing the way for Ardoin's Office to start the Public Bbidding Process.

The Previous Two attempts by the Secretary-of-State's Office to Buy New voting Machines Failed after receiving Complaints about Bid Solicitation.

A Bill sponsored by State Senate Leader, Sharon Hewitt (R-1st District), and Approved by the Majority Republican Legislature, created the Commission and added New Requirements for Louisiana's Next Voting System, with New Layers of Legislative Oversight, Technical Analysis, and Public Comment.

Hewitt said Wednesday, that the Panel will "give citizens, experts, and legislators an equal voice" in helping to Choose a "secure, paper-based voting system that gives voters the confidence" that their Ballots are Counted Accurately.

The Commission can Only Recommend a Voting System that has a Paper Trail that can be Audited. That could involve Ballot-Marking Digital Machines that Print-Out a: Paper Receipt; Paper Ballots that are Scanned into a Digital System; or some other Machine-based Method that Produces a Paper Record. Currently, the Only Paper Trail that exists in Louisiana's Elections, involves Absentee Ballots.

Ardoin's Office said the Agency will have Increased Costs for Paper and Storage, and will need lawmakers to consider creating a larger gap between primary and runoff elections to allow for the auditing.

The legislation also requires that Louisiana's Next Voting System can't Connect to the Internet, already the Practice today in the Secretary-of-State's Office.

Louisiana didn't have any Controversy with its recent Elections, including the 2020 Presidential Election. Trump Won Louisiana, and Ardoin has Fiercely defended Louisiana's Voting System as Secure.

Still, efforts to Replace the Old Voting Machines have drawn Concerns from some Republicans, who repeated Baseless Allegations of Widespread Fraud in Other States, and who said they are worried a New Louisiana Voting System, could be Subject to Hacking.

Several People who Testified before the Commission Wednesday, said they didn't want the State to get Digital Ballot-Marking Devices, suggesting those could be Unsafe. They urged the State to Buy Hand-Marked Paper Ballots that are then Scanned. I think a Great Choice. Some pushed the State to use more than One Voting System Vendor. I think a Bad Choice.

Ardoin shelved the Last Voting Machine Replacement attempt in March, after facing Widespread Complaints from Election Technology Firms, Hewitt, and other Republicans about how the Search was Handled.

A previous 2018 Search and Contract Award was Voided amid Allegations of Bid Rigging.

While waiting to Start a New voting System Search, Ardoin's Office continues to Pay its Current Vendor, Dominion Voting Systems for Maintenance on the Old Election Day Machines, and for Leasing Early Voting Machines.

NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote! Michael H. Drucker

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