20/20's John Stossel exposes serious voting machine problems three days before the election
October 31, 2008
Tonight on 20/20 renowned co-anchor John Stossel exposed serious election machine problems six years and one day after the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) was signed into law as key battleground states like North Carolina and Florida are experiencing early voting problems.
Voting system still flawed
In a nationally televised interview with Rev. DeForest Soaries, the first chairman of the Election Assistance Commission, an agency created after Florida's 2000 hanging chad fiasco, said to Stossel: "It's the fault of a system run by, essentially, the federal government, which has failed to invest properly in democracy." Voting machine problems are evident in states like North Carolina and Florida slamming the Help America Vote Act of 2002 which was designed to replace punch-card voting systems and create uniform administration standards. Soaries also said, "I was forced to send $2.3 billion to the 50 states to buy equipment, even though the equipment was not ready to be bought," Soaries said. "There were no standards, there was no prototype." Soaires claimed that the law was a failure because he had to sign those checks for states to replace machines despite no research or studies assuring the new voting machines would work.
Current EAC Chairman defends the Help America Vote Act
Rosemary Rodriguez the Chairwoman of the Federal Election Assistance Commission defended the Help America Vote Act's reliability claiming that there are now safeguards in place in other states like paper ballot backups, better pre-election testing of the machines, and provisional voting in case voters have problems which is mandated through the Help America Vote Act.
When Stossel on 20/20 said that ATMs work just fine and voting machines don't, Rodriguez opined that "a bank is going to make sure that the system works that it's got to be fail-safe, right, because there's money involved."  Rodriguez defended claims that voting machine companies who made voting machines that went out of business over the factor of excessive paperwork by saying, "You're probably wondering what's taking us so long," Rodriguez said. "It's very stringent, thorough and a program that we are hoping will become the gold standard for voting equipment in this country."