Voting Methods to Change

As counties throughout Mississippi look at buying new "touch-screen" voting machines, some concerns are being raised.

A number of interest groups, including the NAACP, are expressing concerns about whether the absence of paper ballots to back up what the machine reads will increase voter fraud.

State Sen. Terry Burton, a member of the Legislature's elections committee, says he doesn't believe that is likely.

"I think that voter fraud is going to be fixed in several ways. Voter ID is necessary to make sure that the person is who they say they are. Make sure that all poll workers are paid at a rate that would make good people want to be poll workers. There are a lot of ways to deal with voter fraud. As long as the machine is acceptable to the federal government, then I don't think voter fraud is an issue," said Burton.

Counties throughout Mississippi have until Aug. 19 to decide whether or not to purchase the machines. Lauderdale County supervisors will examine the issue Tuesday.

Secretary of State Eric Clark said Monday he's confident that new electronic voting machines will be secure.

Seventy-five of Mississippi's 82 counties have to buy new machines by early next year to comply with a federal law.

Clark's office has signed a contract with Diebold Election Systems Incorporated to do a bulk purchase of new machines.

Clark has been traveling around the state trying to convince county supervisors to be part of the bulk purchase. As of Monday, he says 28 counties have signed up.

A group called the Mississippi Democratic Club has raised concerns about the Diebold machines not having a paper trail to show whether votes are recorded accurately. Clark says printouts can be made from the machines.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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