As with all computer systems, computer-based voting machines and tabulators can crash, behave aberrantly, become infected with viruses, be mis-programmed (intentionally or otherwise), or be hacked, and each can change the legitimate vote count. Furthermore, in contrast to other settings in which secure computer systems are needed (e.g., in finance and in the military), no uniform standards for security or certification of computer-based voting devices have been established. Finally, many experts believe that the development of a secure computer-based voting system is currently only theoretically possible, and that in fact it may never be achievable.

We propose the following amendment to the 2005 Massachusetts Democratic Party Platform

(1) Massachusetts Democrats support a safe, secure, traceable, voting process, which guarantees that every registered voter has the opportunity to cast a ballot and that all ballots are counted.

(2) We believe that all voting systems in Massachusetts must employ hand-marked paper ballots as the official ballot of record, and that hand counting must be the official method of vote tallying. All cast paper ballots must be securely stored and available for recount purposes as currently required by Massachusetts' law. Computer-based voting devices can only be used for unofficial tallies or to audit hand-counted vote totals.

(3) We believe that Massachusetts must explicitly prohibit the use of DRE (Digital Recording Electronic) voting devices, because they cast, store and tally votes in a manner that is not accessible to public scrutiny. We believe that Massachusetts should establish a moratorium on the acquisition of optical scan voting devices. We support the accessibility requirements of the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) for people with disabilities: various methods for marking or reading ballots may be considered, although DREs must not be permitted. The networking of computers, wireless devices and phone transmission of data must be prohibited.

(4) We believe the Secretary of State should provide training programs for all election workers, offered throughout the Commonwealth, and that all election workers will be required to successfully complete such training prior to appointment, and to meet re-certification requirements.

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Please sign and return to the CPPAX booth in the Convention Hall or contact Ed Loechler (617) 543-8117