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NJ Lawmakers Consider Switch To Paper Ballot System

Princeton University professor Andrew Appel testifies at legislative hearing

New Jersey lawmakers are considering whether the voting machines now used in the state should be replaced by a paper ballot system using electronic scanners.

Princeton University computer science professor Andrew Appel says the voting machines are vulnerable to hacking.

“So we should run our elections in a way that can detect and correct for computer hacking without having to put all our trust in computers. Therefore, we cannot use paperless touchscreen voting computers. They’re a fatally flawed technology.”

Danielle Root with the Center for American Progress told lawmakers that a paper ballot system would provide a reliable paper trail that can be checked against the official election outcome.

“Voter verifiable paper records such as paper ballots provide a record of voter intent which will exist even if voting machines are attacked and data are altered.”

Assemblyman Vince Mazzeo is the sponsor of a bill that would establish a pilot program in three counties to transition to a paper ballot voting system using optical scanners.

“We must have an assurance that our votes are accurate and legitimate. Where is our democracy without an election being validated?”

County clerks support the concept but are concerned that printing the ballots will increase costs.  And they say it would be tough to purchase the machines and get election officials trained on the new voting system by the November election.