Who makes the voting machines?

By | 2002-11-12

All-electronic voting: a very scary proposition.

How do we know the motives of those who make (and sell) the voting machines? For example, what if even one disgruntled employee with a cause decides to alter a line of code or two in the system to favour one side? How can we know that the systems have not been tampered with after delivery? When there’s no paper trail, how can we be sure that the totals have been tallied correctly, let alone be sure that voters’ true intentions were captured in the first place? And when there’s no transparency in the system (by the use of closed-source code, for example) how can such a system be properly audited?

There many reasons why I think ANY form of all-electronic voting is probably a bad idea. The KISS ethos probably applies to election technology more than any other area of progress. What is wrong with an X on a paper ballot? It’s simple, open, and very difficult to defraud when observers on all sides can query the count at any stage. As long as all sides are happy that enough of their own supporters are observing each count, it doesn’t matter how many times the votes have to be recounted to get a consistent result. With enough counters per ward and per constituency the process can be both quick and accurate. Witness the UK parliamentary elections, for example.

A couple more stories on the subject:
Chip glitch hands victory to wrong candidate
Voting into the void

Sources: “mta”, Houston Chronicle, Salon

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