Missouri Senate considers banning touchscreen voting - KMOV.com

Missouri Senate considers banning touchscreen voting

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(Credit: AP Images) (Credit: AP Images)

By BLAKE NELSON
Associated Press

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP and KMOV.com) - The Missouri Senate is considering whether to mandate use of paper ballots.

The proposal would still allow electronic machines to count votes and to assist disabled voters in marking their ballots. But systems that only recorded votes electronically would be phased out.

About two-dozen counties in the state use the electronic voting machines that would be banned, and each still produces a paper record of vote totals.

Proponents say this change could prevent hackers from potentially hijacking elections. The debate comes as many states are considering the move to paper ballots after evidence that Russian hackers tried to access voting information in a number of states in the 2016 elections.

Opponents say the current system is already secure.

St. Louis County Elections Director Eric Fey says hacking is unlikely because the machines are not connected to the state database or the internet.

"If someone was to hack the machine they would have to be here in person. I don't know of a flood of Russians coming to infiltrate our polling places but that's why we have security in place," said Fey.

Fey added that using electronic machines also helps ensure they don't run out of ballots, something that happened in 2016. 

Fey also said that having electronic machines has saved $2 million over the past two years.

The bill already passed the House in a 108-31 vote.

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