To the Editor:

Your Feb. 26 editorial “The Voters Will Pay” opposes a merger between manufacturers of electronic voting machines, but avoids the question of why we use them at all. As you say, “numerous studies have shown that electronic voting machines are particularly vulnerable to software glitches, intentional vote theft or sabotage.”

In a real democracy, there is no room for such shortcomings, especially when there is no reason to tolerate them. Having observed the fiasco in Ohio in 2004 firsthand, I believe that the conclusion is unavoidable that we need universal hand-counted paper ballots.

They are not perfect. But they are cheaper, trackable and subject to far fewer abuses than the electronic systems that have failed us so badly in recent years.

Harvey Wasserman
Bexley, Ohio, Feb. 26, 2010

The writer has co-authored four books about election protection.