Friday, January 28, 2005

EFF on "recounting" electronic ballots

A post on EFF's Deep Links discusses the problem with "recounting" DRE ballots.

"Now that the dust has settled on the majority of the close elections nationwide, we can see more clearly than ever the most disturbing problem caused by using paperless touchscreen voting machines: the recounts were, to put it bluntly, a charade."

"The goal of a recount is to ensure that the voters' intentions were properly recorded and the right person won. That's why we pull out the punch cards and review them for hanging chads, or check optically scanned ballots for stray marks.
But nothing remotely that sensible occured in Washington State, Ohio, or anywhere else that voters used paperless touchscreen machines. Instead, we saw what could accurately be described as a 'reprint.'"

"Unfortunately, there remain a number of states and counties that cannot see the writing on the wall. After all, pressing a button to reprint a 'recount' would seem to be the clean and easy solution; if the numbers never change, voting officials can simply claim that the first count was correct and call it a day."

"What we didn't anticipate was that some e-voting vendors would make it 'easier' by removing the ability to do an accurate recount -- the design equivalent of a CEO making an audit 'easier' by eliminating the accounting department."



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