News & Events
OSU Law Professor: Replace Punch Card Voting Machines
Expert in civil rights and voting says electronic voting machines improve access, equality
March 11, 2004
An Ohio State University law professor is working to rid the state of punch card voting machines, used in 70 of 88 counties in the 2000 election. Daniel Tokaji, assistant professor in the Moritz College of Law, says Ohio and the rest of the nation desperately needs to get rid of punch card voting machines and replace them with more modern systems. He says failing to do so is a form of electoral malpractice.
Tokaji says electronic voting offers a great opportunity to enhance the equality of our voting system, making it easier for people with disabilities to vote and lowering the racial gap in lost votes. Tokaji is also opposed to the proposed requirement that electronic voting machines generate a contemporaneous paper record, or "voter-verified paper trail," a call made earlier this week by Democratic senators. He says a verification system would inhibit conversion to electronic voting and complicate the voting process, while providing questionable security benefits.
Tokaji’s groundbreaking work in the area of civil rights has influenced the national debate on issues of voting equality, particularly those arising from the transition from punch cards to electronic voting. He served on the legal team working on behalf of the NAACP and other civil rights groups in the recent California recall litigation. Prior to that, he was one of the lawyers who successfully challenged California’s use of "hanging chad" punch card voting machines, obtaining a court order mandating that the state replace them by March 2004. He’s presently working with the ACLU to rid Ohio of its punch card machines.
Since joining The Ohio State University’s Moritz College of Law faculty in the fall of 2003, he has continued to speak out about the election process, focusing especially on the civil rights implications of the nationwide shift to electronic voting. He authors a regular blog regarding civil rights and voting technology issues.
Since 1891, the Moritz College of Law has played a leading role in the legal profession through countless contributions made by alumni and faculty. Graduates of the school reside in all 50 states and 20 other countries and include justices of the Ohio Supreme Court, current and former U.S. Senators and Representatives, managing partners in law firms of all sizes, chief executive officers of Fortune 500 corporations, and attorneys with non-profit organizations and public interest law firms.