Published January 14, 2015
Touch-screen and optical scan voting machines (search) dramatically reduced the number of discarded ballots in this year's presidential race, a study of balloting in a dozen Florida counties conducted by the Miami Herald has concluded.
"If the voter has accidentally picked two candidates, which is an overvote, instead of like in 2000 when you punched the name in and your vote didn't count, the machine asks you who did you mean to vote for — same with undervotes," said Seth Kaplan, a spokesman with the Miami-Dade elections office.
Four years ago, 28,000 presidential overvote or undervote ballots were tossed by Miami-Dade County's canvassing board. This year, the number dropped to 4,200.
In Broward County four years ago, 14,600 votes were tossed out. This time, it was 2,800.
Critics acknowledge that the numbers are down, but say until the machines produce a paper trail, questions will persist.
Without a paper trail, there will always be uncertainty and voter confidence will not be as high as it could be," said Rep. Robert Wexler (search), a Democrat who represents Boca Raton, Fla.
Despite the $25 million elections system overhaul in Florida, one political analyst says the system will never be perfect.
"We need to remember that voting is a human product or phenomenon and wherever people are involved in something, there's going to be mistakes," said Robert Watson, a political science professor at Florida Atlantic University (search).
Click in the box near the top of the story to watch a report by FOX News' Orlando Salinas.