I want my vote guaranteed, damnit!

August 14, 2003

Dear editors:

I would like to respond to the article in Wednesday's paper concerning the touch screen voting systems and Sec. Cox's confidence in the system.

Regarding Sec. of State Cathy Cox's remarks in defense of the new touch-screen voting equipment, I'm pleased that she feels very confident in the guaranteed security of our votes. But the issue is not enirely hers to defend. I'd like to know what she plans to do to boost MY confidence in these machines, considering what happened to me and the entire state in 2002.

Nothing can explain the gross discrepancies between poll numbers leading up to the elections, and the actual election results. There are no voter-verified paper trails to ensure votes were collected & recorded exactly as cast, to perform a recount to validate the accuracy of those final vote tallies.

What happened to me personally in 2002 is that after voting entirely democrat/non-incumbent, my "review" screen reflected a vote for a Republican candidate. My verbal disgust led to a poll volunteer telling me to back up and re-enter my choice before proceeding. I have learned that this happened to quite a few Georgia voters, and not just myself.

For machines so dead on accurate and flawless, how do I know the Republican vote on my system wasn't recorded as an actual vote prior to my approval of my choices in the final screen? I don't know. And the sudden absence of exit polling and pre-polling discrepancies only make these systems more suspect.

Secretary of State Cox has an obligation to US, the voters, to do everything in her power to protect and ensure the accuracy of our votes. Right now we're getting a bunch of lip service instead. I'm one of many Georgia voters who want a seperate, voter-verified paper trail for each vote that WE approve on paper before the votes are tallied. What's it going to take Ms. Cox to satisfy the concerned voters? Lawsuits? Petitions? Protests? Then let's get on with it if we must. I want to know that our votes aren't tampered with by terrorists who would do everything they can to take control of our democracy. Surely Sec. of State Cox would have the same concern.

Chris Coggins
Macon, GA