by Rhona Mahony. In three weeks, Americans will elect a new President, They’ll also elect new Senators, Congressional representatives, and many state and local officials. Voters in six U.S. states, though, will vote on “direct-recording” electronic (DRE) machines that produce no paper print-out that can be used to double check the accuracy of the machine. Voters in 29 other states may get a paper print-out but, like those in the paperless states, will have no way of knowing how error-prone or easy to manipulate their DRE voting machine is. (See VerifiedVoting.org.) Independent tests of voting machines–done outside the closed labs of the manufacturers–have not been encouraging. Last year, Debra Bowen, California’s Secretary of State, asked computer scientists from the University of California, Berkeley, to help her staff do a “Top-to-Bottom Review” of many of the voting machines that we have been using in California. The result? Ms. Bowen’s team found that machines from Diebold (now Premier Election), Hart InterCivic, and Sequoia were so inaccurate or so insecure or both, that they have “decertified” the machines. If you don’t live in California, you may find yourself looking at one of those duds on November 4.
Better Security with Transparent Software
Should we throw our votes into a black hole? Should we let vote-stealers snicker at us? There may be a better way.
Computer engineer Alan Dechert and his colleagues are offering a system that they call “Open Voting.” It prints out a paper ballot that the voter can read over herself. The ballot has a bar code Continue reading →