Saturday, December 03, 2005

Voting machines

Smirking Chimp has an article up called, "Challenge: Prove that electronic voting machines accurately record votes" that talks about the importance of a paper receipt when using computerized voting machines. The article is short and convincing but what I want to share with you is a comment somebody made:

The paper ballot, hand counted under scrutiny by all the parties... is the closest thing to foolproof you can possibly have. You might be able to subborn one or two of the scrutineers but ALL of them? I think not. Wouldn't need but a few whistleblowers to blow the whole thing apart.

I am anything but computerphobic. I wrote my first program on punch cards when I was 15 in 1971 and am currently heavily engaged in computer programming, networking, and general use of technology. I have background in database, several computing langauges, software design in general, various forms of Windows, UNIX and several other proprietary operating systems.

I KNOW that practically any computer program can be hacked depending on how badly you want to do it. However, based on what I have read about the voting software in use, I do not believe that adequate security precautions have been taken, and EVEN IF THEY HAD BEEN, IT DOES NOT MEAN THAT THE RESULTS ARE SAFE.

What I know about computers makes me very nervous about using them to record and tally votes. The complexity of modern software is so enormous that complete scrutiny is impossible.

So please don't accuse me of having my head filled with moronic mumbo jumbo when I say that there are some things for which computers are patently not suited: particularly not anything to do with the election of public officials.

I agree with this person. I think the elections of 2000, 2002, and 2004 have been corrupted by voting machines owned by companies with a commitment to the Republican Party. I don't know how the Democrats will ever get back in power without election reform.

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