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EDITORIAL: Voter integrity

After years of downplaying concerns about fraud, many Democrats still mourning the election of Donald Trump now assert new-found concerns over the electoral process.

The Green Party’s Jill Stein passed off her silly three-state recount as an effort to unearth hacking or other irregularities. And now, The Association Press reports, a handful of university computer scientists have expressed worries that voting machines in at least 11 states could be vulnerable to shenanigans because they lack printed ballots or other means of manual verification.

“If I were going to hack this election, I would go for the paperless machines because they are so hard to check,” one expert told the wire service.

Of course, there has been no evidence brought forth of hacking or any other wrongdoing that might have significantly altered the November vote count. But Democrats have long dismissed voter fraud allegations as the domain of kooky right wingers intent on suppressing turnout. Good to see them recognize that the security of the system is paramount to cultivating public confidence in our democratic republic.

By all means, states in which antiquated voting machines make it virtually impossible to doublecheck results should invest in better technology. In addition, electronic voting devices vulnerable to outside manipulation must be improved or discarded. But relatively simple reforms — such as requiring identification at the polls or more comprehensively verifying the voter rolls — can also play a roll in limiting potential fraud.

Well-intended efforts to make it easier to vote must not undermine the integrity of the balloting. So if nothing else, let’s hope this debate exposes the folly of percolating proposals that would allow voters to cast ballots on their home computers, laptops or smartphones.

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