Friday, July 25, 2003
Rigging the Election [updated 5:10 PM]Lots of news outlets are picking up stories on a recent paper published by three researchers at Johns Hopkins University (aided and abetted by a guy from Rice University) which purports to show all of the perceived problems with so-called "electronic voting". Specifically, the gentlemen appear to be up in arms that source code can't be examined, so they took the opportunity to analyze purported source code which may or may not have been pilfered from an industry FTP server.
Its all very academic (except, of course, for the line: "...it places our very democracy at risk." ).
There is no more risk from an electronic voting terminal than there is from a system based on paper ballots, tabulating machines (the old "voting booths" with the levers that both closed/opened a curtain and registered the vote) or punch card systems. There are, though, decided advantages to the electronic voting terminals in terms of cost and mobility.
So cost goes down, but risk stays the same - sounds like we should be rushing to add electronic voting terminals not throwing up roadblocks!
Update: Diebold, the vendor of the software in question, was quick to point out the numerous flaws in the testing, methodology and logic of the academics.
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