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December 1, 2006

Today's Voting Machines Story

-- by Dave Johnson


Security Of Electronic Voting Is Condemned: Paper Systems Should Be Included, Agency Says
,

Paperless electronic voting machines used throughout much of the country "cannot be made secure," according to draft recommendations issued this week by a federal agency that advises the U.S. Election Assistance Commission.

... In a report hailed by critics of electronic voting, the institute said voting systems should allow election officials to recount ballots independently from a voting machine's software. The recommendations endorse "optical-scan" systems in which voters mark paper ballots that are read by a computer and electronic systems that print a paper summary of each ballot, which voters review and elections officials save for recounts.

I don't agree. I think that we can use the machines as input devices to print paper ballots which the voter looks at and puts in a separate ballot box. This gets rid of all the problems associated with people mismarking the ballots, drawing circles instead of lines, etc.

But to be clear - the machines should only be used as input devices leading to the printing of a ballot, and that ballot, placed by the voter in a separate ballot box, is the official count.

More from the story,

Computer scientists and others have said that the security of electronic voting systems cannot be guaranteed and that election officials should adopt systems that produce a paper record of each vote in case of a recount. The institute report embraces that critique, introducing the concept of "software independence" in voting systems.

Posted by Dave Johnson at December 1, 2006 11:01 AM

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Comments

You finally have the voting system issue exactly right.

Posted by: richard [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 1, 2006 11:34 AM

People have been e-mailing this to me all day. It's going to be one Hell of an expense to replace all those paperless voting machines once they're declared illegal, which they'll have to be. I've been saying all along that if we have to have electronic voting, optical scanners are the way to go.

Posted by: MJ [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 1, 2006 3:01 PM

"I think that we can use the machines as input devices to print paper ballots which the voter looks at and puts in a separate ballot box. This gets rid of all the problems associated with people mismarking the ballots, drawing circles instead of lines, etc."

absolutely! geez, the wife and I were talking about exactly that last night. the only paper trail solution I've heard thusfar is having a machine print out a "receipt", but that worries me. How can you be sure that the machine didn't register the vote differently inside the black box, the only place that would count? Your receipt may state your vote was for the democratic candidate, but who knows WHAT is going on inside the black box?? I came up with exactly the same as the solution you proposed.
fools seldom differ....

Posted by: The Cosmic Fluke [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 1, 2006 3:45 PM

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