For Immediate Release Six states at "high" risk for voting machine mishaps on Super Tuesday

Posted on January 31, 2008

Susannah Goodman, Common Cause , (703) 863-8014

Pam Smith, Verified Voting, (760) 613-0172

Six of the 15 states that hold presidential primaries on Super Tuesday are at "high" risk for having election results affected by electronic voting machine malfunction or tampering, according to a new report by Common Cause and the Verified Voting Foundation. Twenty-four states hold presidential primaries or caucuses on Feb. 5, but only 15 of them will use voting machines to select candidates.

In all, a troubling 17 states that will hold their presidential primaries over the next several months, including two that have already held them, are at high risk for voting machine mishaps that could change election results, the report shows. The states were given that ranking for using electronic voting machines that do not produce an independent, voter-verifiable paper record that could be used in the case of a recount or audit.

In addition, the report found 17 states to be at "medium" risk for having election results affected by voting machine failure. This classification was given to states that use voting systems that deploy paper ballots or produce a voter-verifiable paper record of each voter's vote, but do not require audits.

The report found six states to be at "low" risk for a voting meltdown because those states use voting systems that deploy paper ballots or produce voter verifiable paper records, as well as require audits.

"It is senseless that after two presidential elections marked by voting machine failures that some states still use voting systems that do not produce a paper record that can be re-counted if there is a problem," said Bob Edgar, president of Common Cause. "Congress and the states must fix this problem by November. We can't afford another national election in which voters don't have full confidence in our election results."

"The predominant voting systems we use, which tally electronically, have been shown repeatedly to have significant security and reliability weaknesses," said Pamela Smith, president of the Verified Voting Foundation. "But where voters are able to check that their vote was recorded accurately on paper, that paper forms a tool we can use to reduce the threat. Post election audits using the paper ballots are the most important check and balance on the electronic tally."

The ratings for the 15 states holding presidential primaries on voting machines on Super Tuesday are below. Forty states, including the District of Columbia, are reviewed inside the report. The remaining states were not reviewed since they hold caucuses and do not use electronic voting machines.


Risk Level







New Jersey


New York






















In addition to assessing the risk level, Common Cause and Verified Voting call on Congress to pass the Emergency Election Assistance for Secure Elections Act, which would authorize critically needed funding for states that want to convert from paperless systems to paper-based systems by the general election in November. The legislation also authorizes funding for audits and emergency paper ballots.

The groups also urge states or jurisdictions voting on paperless electronic systems to have on hand a supply of paper ballots in case of machine malfunction, among other recommendations.

Click here to read the report:

Office: Common Cause National

Issues: Voting and Elections

Tags: Registration and Voting Systems

Common Cause is a nonpartisan grassroots organization dedicated to upholding the core values of American democracy. We work to create open, honest, and accountable government that serves the public interest; promote equal rights, opportunity, and representation for all; and empower all people to make their voices heard in the political process.

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