‘Black box voting’ has upside | TheUnion.com

‘Black box voting’ has upside

Recently The Union published a letter decrying “black box voting.” I’ve heard onerous predictions about these machines. I was concerned enough to abandon my commitment as a pollworker to declare my opposition to using them. Yesterday, I attended training, ready to declare all out opposition to this new technology.

I learned this: The “black boxes” are ballot boxes where voters deposit paper ballots. The ballot box has an optical scanner just like the optical scanners used for years by Elections to count votes. The “black box” scanners count voters’ paper ballots as voters place their paper ballots in the box.

In the past, when voters accidentally mark two votes in one category and the Elections office’s optical scanner kicks the ballot out, the voter isn’t present and neither vote counts. With the optical scanner at the precinct, voters can correct mistakes by voiding that ballot and filling out another one.

One touch-screen voting machine is available at each voting place for voters with disabilities. It displays paper tallies as votes are cast and no one has to use it.

By the way, the pencil and paper process changed. Now, you use a pen.

Ellen McCord

Grass Valley

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Grass Valley and Nevada County make The Union’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Your donation will help us continue to cover COVID-19 and our other vital local news.


Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.

User Legend: iconModerator iconTrusted User


Alvin Blake: Strengthen our power grid


We must do more to strengthen our power grid against an electromagnetic pulse event. Such an event can result from an attack by terrorists or by another country (China may already have the capability) or…

See more