From: Arthur Keller <arthur_at_kellers_dot_org>
Date: Tue Nov 23 2004 - 02:44:59 CST

At 3:22 PM -0800 11/22/04, Alan Dechert wrote:
>I took most of Teresa's suggestions. Anything else?
>Four years after America suffered through a broken election process,
>we still do not have reliable systems to find the winner.

we still do not have reliable election systems to select the winner.

>In one case alone, some 4,500 votes were lost from a single electronic
>voting machine in North Carolina. "Paperless voting is a disaster,"
>says Alan Dechert, President of the Open Voting Consortium. "Combined
>with secrecy of procedures, such as failure to post precinct totals
>for public viewing at the end of the Election Day, and refusal to
>allow observers of ballot counting, we now have a system that has
>generated widespread suspicion of fraud."
>How long must Americans wait for elections where every vote is openly
>counted and where the count can be clearly verified?
>Long lines, registration problems, and a multitude of other problems
>meant that countless voters were discouraged from voting. For the tens
>of millions of votes cast on paperless systems, we have no meaningful
>way to audit the count.
>Despite having four years and more election failures, decision-makers
>at all levels refused to fix obvious flaws in the voting system. "Our
>democracy has been weakened," says Dechert. "While some people still
>hope that electronic voting will work, it would require proper

it WILL require proper

>security measures comparable to those used in business, including a
>voter verified paper record of the vote, full audits of ballots and
>tallies, and software that is open to scrutiny. We need to begin now
>on a comprehensive effort to open up, and clean up our election system
>so that we are not left with unanswered questions again 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.
>"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

has advocated that electronic voting machines produce a voter-verified

>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

However, she

> misses the more realistic threat of
>a malicious insider rigging the machines

or even simple programming error

>. Slot machines undergo more
>testing and scrutiny than our voting machines -- and they have been
>corrupted: In one 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.'
> Of course there isn't, since voters are casting nothing but
>electronic ballots that can be altered without a trace."

The systems are designed for quick tallying, not so they can be audited.

>"As interest in the Open Voting Consortium's approach is rapidly
>growing, we are more confident than ever that our project will
>succeed," said Dechert. "We offer support and assistance to the
>growing number of states planning to ban paperless voting. We plan to
>also introduce legislation in all the states to require that computer
>source code -- the instructions given to the computers -- used to
>conduct elections also be made public."
>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.
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Best regards,

Arthur M. Keller, Ph.D., 3881 Corina Way, Palo Alto, CA  94303-4507
tel +1(650)424-0202, fax +1(650)424-0424
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Received on Tue Nov 30 23:17:38 2004

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