From: Alan Dechert <alan_at_openvotingconsortium_dot_org>
Date: Fri Nov 12 2004 - 14:33:59 CST

thanks Keith. Some real good ideas there.

Alan D

> Hope this helps....
> Four years after America suffered through a broken election process, we
> still do not have reliable systems to find the winner in a close
> contest. This time, the election system hid its ugly unreliability
> behind the distraction of "big enough" margins. Luckily we didn't have
> to watch as precinct after precinct failed to be able to recount without
> a paper trail, or have to add up the critical hours inexplicably lost in
> the audit logs.
> "We don't know how many votes were lost due to mismanagement or fraud,
> but
> it appears that George Bush got enough votes to overcome the slop in the
> voting system," says Alan Dechert, President of the Open Voting
> Consortium.
> In one case alone, some 4,500 votes were lost from a single electronic
> voting machine in North Carolina. "Paperless voting is a disaster
> waiting
> to happen. If that had happened in a swing state anywhere near as close
> as
> Florida in 2000, we'd be right back in the Supreme Court to find out who
> won. We must not count on being so lucky in the future, praying for
> elections that aren't so close. We must have a voting system where
> every
> vote is counted and where the count can be clearly verified."
> Long lines, registration problems, and a multitude of other problems
> meant
> that countless voters were disenfranchised, and their votes not counted.
> Despite having four years and more election failures, Decision makers
> at all levels simply failed to fix clear problems in the voting system.
> "Democracy cannot afford to see them botch the job again," says Dechert.
> "The growing consensus is that electronic voting will work ,we need to
> use
> proper security measures including a voter verified paper record of the
> vote, and software that is open to scrutiny. Less visible than the
> lemons we were
> sold as e-voting machines, are the many other weak points in the current
> voting system needing immediate repair. We need to begin now on a
> comprehensive
> effort to open up, and clean up the voting system so that we are not
> left with unanswered questions next time."
> Computer security and reliability is a complex and ever shifting area,
> we shouldn't presume that election officials can fully test all aspects
> of new voting technology. For example in a 60 Minutes program last
> month, Conny McCormack, Registrar
> of Voters for Los Angeles County, said "Voters love them," in reference
> to
> paperless touchscreen voting machines. Voters may or may not love using
> a touchscreen instead of a pencil to vote, but where is the question
> "Did my vote count ?" All voting systems must automatically be held to
> the highest standard. "Would they
> ask questions about the safety of a medical procedure of patients or of
> doctors?" asked Professor Avi Rubin of Johns Hopkins in a recent
> Computerworld interview. "They should ask computer security experts
> about
> computer security questions, not end users, who may like the look and
> feel
> of the machines but have no way of knowing if they are really secure."
> Dr. Rubin, who also appeared on the same 60 Minutes program, has
> advocated
> the use of electronic voting machines that also produce a voter
> verifiable
> paper record of the vote.
> Ms. McCormack dismissed the threat of vote tampering with paperless
> systems.
> She feels it would be too obvious for a voter to tamper with a system in
> the
> voting booth. This misses the real threat of a malicious insider
> rigging
> the machines. Slot machines undergo more testing and scrutiny than our
> voting machines -and they have been corrupted, in a famous case,
> an employee of the Gaming Control Board in the Electronic Services
> Division
> in Las Vegas rigged machines without even touching them. The cheating
> virus
> was installed by unwitting employees using an infected testing device.
> The
> scam was only discovered years later when the cheater became greedy and
> sloppy.
> "With so much at stake in elections, the malicious insider threat is
> very
> high," says Dechert. "Ms. McCormack says, 'there is no evidence,' but
> we
> may not see any evidence until long after Election Day. I'd rather not
> find out What we as a nation do when we discover years later that an
> election was stolen ?"
> The Open Voting Consortium is a Nonprofit California Corporation
> dedicated
> to the development, maintenance, and delivery of open voting systems for
> use
> in public elections.
> ###
= The content of this message, with the exception of any external
= quotations under fair use, are released to the Public Domain
Received on Tue Nov 30 23:17:30 2004

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