Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Shelby County Election Commission to Vote Wednesday on Contract for New System

The above notice was put on the SCEC Facebook page. Unfortunately the email address in their graphic left out the "c" in county, so please try this address: 


This is a wonderful opportunity to have your comments read into the record without having to physically attend the meeting or speak at a podium. Please do it!

Election Commission to Hold Special Meeting Wednesday on Voting Machines

I refer you to my past posts on the beleaguered Shelby County Election Commission. As previously discussed, our current voting system is outdated, and has no paper trail. Thus it cannot be adequately audited. It must be replaced, hopefully in time for the election next fall.

Ex-Alderman Frank Uhlhorn Appointed as Shelby County Election Commissioner

Shelby County May Get New Voting System in November After All 

I am no expert in voting systems, but when I researched the subject, I was unable to find a single election security expert that favors the type of electronic system that Linda Phillips, administrator of our elections, is promoting. She vehemently favors an electronic system that spits out a receipt for each voter. That receipt would be retained and could later be matched to electronic votes in a recount. Unfortunately, the system can still be hacked, because of the ability to insert a rogue program with a flash drive. Additionally, studies have shown that voters do not check their receipts to verify their accuracy. It is also more expensive and can easily become outdated.

The less expensive alternative is a paper ballot that is scanned at each precinct. The software is much simpler, not subject to hacking, and it is less costly. It has been used successfully for years in Chattanooga, and recently Knoxville chose to implement this system. Because the SCEC did not include that type of less expensive software in the original bidding process, the Shelby County Commission did not approve the SCEC's original monetary request for the more expensive system. The bidding process 
was sent back to the SCEC for another round of bidding that included the less expensive paper marked system.

Besides being less expensive, and less prone to hacking, the paper system does not require touching a screen, which of course can spread pathogens. 

The bids are in, but, according to sources, the public is not allowed to see them prior to the vote on Wednesday. Joe Weinberg calls the new bidding process "deeply flawed".  In an email sent to all the Shelby County Election Commissioners, Weinberg calls for a consultant to be hired to review the entire process, and reorganize it. According to him, security issues are ignored, as is the solvency and track record of the companies bidding. Another issue is that there was no request for bids for a system that could print out paper ballots at each precinct as needed, a capability that would more easily allow the administration of a scanned paper ballot system. Additionally, the RFP (Request for Proposal) disallowed the bidders from including items other than those specifically listed in the RFP, so bidders were not even allowed to suggest such a system.

Again, I urge everyone to use this easy process to make your opinions known.

No comments:

Post a Comment