NJ Should Learn from Iowa Debacle

We have learned several important lessons from the debacle in Iowa: always have a paper ballot that can be recounted in an emergency and can be audited to assure the accuracy of the tabulating machines; use the least amount of technology for voting to minimize machine errors and potential hacks; create the most secure and resilient voting system to give voters confidence in election results.

Unfortunately, New Jersey fails on all counts. Using paperless, aging, insecure machines can lead to failed elections. We must take action now, before it is too late, to make sure that the June primary and November presidential elections create an accurate record of voters’ intent. Contact your county officials and demand hand-marked paper ballots and optical scan tabulating machines (the most secure and least expensive voting system)! There is still time before the June election: Virginia transitioned to this system in two months, and Essex County just announced its transition.

In 2005 the legislature passed a law requiring voter verified paper ballots and in 2008 a law requiring post-election audits. Neither law was implemented because of lack of funds. The federal government has awarded New Jersey $11 million for election security.

Tell Governor Murphy that this money should be used to purchase optical scan machines for New Jersey to enable implementation of the existing laws!

We have been forewarned to expect foreign and domestic hacking and election interference. We know how vulnerable we are using our current paperless system. We know what the solution is. Let us move expeditiously to transition to hand-marked paper ballots and optical scan machines so that we secure our right to a fair and accurate election!

Stephanie Harris

Chair, Voting Integrity Task Force, Coalition for Peace Action

Editor’s Note: For more on Harris and New Jersey’s outdated voting machine, see “Mercer’s Voting Machines: Old, Hackable, and Not Going Anywhere,” (U.S. 1, October 30, 2019).

Stories Highlight Hidden Gems

Thank you for your recent article on wellness and our local outdoor gems, including the 1761 Brearley House and other historical components of Maidenhead Meadows Park, the largest municipal-owned park in Mercer County.

People are finding these gems and they are not just from this area. We hosted more than 900 attendees experiencing our history and parks at three events in less than two weeks starting New Years’s Eve.

December 31 — Annual Hogmanay Bonfire @ 1761 Brearley House — 750

January 4 — 58th Annual Colonel Hand Historic March — 110, the largest crowd in quite some time; one-third were from outside of the area; the mayor and entire council along with the municipal manager were also in attendance.

January 11 — Lawrence-Hopewell Trail Saturday Morning Walking Club — 48, all-time high from as far away as Maplewood; the location changes every month, and the January location was just what you wrote about: the Brearley House, the Great Meadow Trail to the D&R Canal, and the Canal towpath.

We look forward to reading more of your great stories.

Again, many thanks!

Paul Larson

Chair, Lawrence Township Trails, Open Space & Stewardship Advisory Committee

Trustee, Lawrence Historical Society

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