Virginia Ends Use of Touch-Screen Voting Machines

Daily News Article - September 14, 2017


1. The first paragraph of a news article should answer the questions who, what, where and when. List the who, what, where and when of this news item. (NOTE: The remainder of a news article provides details on the why and/or how.)

2. Why did Virginia’s Board of Elections vote to eliminate the state’s remaining touch-screen electronic voting machines?

3. For what reason has the Board moved to replace touch-screen machines with ones that record votes on paper instead of only electronically?

4. a) What is important to note about the voting machine that was hacked at DEF CON this year?
b) How many Virginia voters will be affected by the change in voting machines?

5. a) What is an optical-scan system for voting?
b) What percentage of U.S. voters still vote on electronic machines with no paper backups, according to the group Verified Voting?

6. Optical scan voting systems can allow for manual recounting of ballots and random auditing of the election equipment that reports the results to election officials. Statistically relevant auditing can serve as a tool to detect or deter malfunction or fraud. In the instance where a candidate is entitled to a recount, a full hand recount of paper ballots can determine the accurate, or final results. Officials responsible for maintaining the veracity and accuracy of elections such as election commissioners or county auditors, can randomly select a voting block such as a precinct to verify the optical scanning voting system tabulation and report is accurate by doing a hand count against the machine's results. By performing such an audit, election officials can confirm the system is in good standing. Or, if an error in the counting is discovered during a random audit of the machine(s), a full recount can be conducted, and the system evaluated for the source of failure or fraud.
Should voters in every state demand that their state and municipality use an optical scan voting system? Explain your answer.

7. Voter fraud and election hacking should both be prevented by the states. In addition to securing the actual votes, steps must be taken to ensure that only registered voters are voting (no voting in two places, or deceased people voting, or ineligible people voting).
Measures like Voter ID laws have been taken to ensure only registered voters are voting. A total of 34 states have laws requesting or requiring voters to show some form of identification at the polls. Another way to prevent voter fraud is to clean the voter rolls.
Liberals/Democrats oppose Voter ID laws because they say requiring ID discriminates against and disenfranchises* minority and elderly voters, who they say do not have, or are not able to afford, ID - especially a drivers license. (*Disenfranchise: to prevent (a person or group of people) from having the right to vote). They also say this type of voter fraud is minimal or non-existent.
Conservatives/Republicans refute this by listing all of the things people need to show ID for (doctor, banking, school, government assistance…), as well as saying people who can’t afford an identification card should be provided one for free from the government - that it does not have to be a drivers license. They say it will prevent voter fraud.
What do you think:
a) Does voter fraud exist? Explain your answer.
b) Are Voter ID laws a good way to prevent voter fraud, or are they discriminatory and prevent certain groups of people from voting? Explain your answer.
c) Ask a parent the same questions.