There have been several news pieces jumping up in recent weeks where Salt Lake County is claiming that it's becoming unmanageably expensive to store, operate, and maintain electronic voting machines. Unsurprisingly, several rural counties are going to be switching back to paper ballots as a result. There's also a push from state and local leaders to have the feds pick up some or all of the tab for maintenance despite Uncle Sam having paid for purchasing the new machines.
This raises a lot of very important questions, not the least of which is: How is it that our government can't find the money to take care of elections, one of it's most basic purposes? Is anyone else having flashbacks to the 2000 US Census when we were told that they'd have to do statistical analysis instead of counting each person because of the cost despite this function being explicitly spelled out in the Constitution?
We should be infuriated that those we've placed in charge of elections have bungled things so badly. Why can't other programs be cut to make up the difference? If these Diebold machines are too expensive, why not switch to something with a lower TCO? (This says nothing of the reliability issues that Diebold machines have had for the last decade.) Why aren't we spending some of that excess tax revenue to buy more machines or pay for their on-going costs? In summary, why aren't we getting real leadership on this issue? It seems that the consensus is to pass the blame to another party and wait for them to take care of it.
I think we should be demanding better of Salt Lake County and of the Lt. Governor's office. We should be demanding that they fix up this Diebold mess, demanding that they have enough machines at each location, demanding that we maintain a valid paper trail, and demanding that they not wait for federal action to do it. When more people raise cain about dental care for the poor than insufficient election resources, we have our priorities totally messed up.