Sunday, February 18, 2007

The Elements

Many thanks to Brian Randell for this pointer to a great animation of Tom Lehrer's The Elements.

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Saturday, February 17, 2007

Avi Rubin on Rep. Holt's H.R. 811

Avi has a thoughtful post on the most recent version of Representative Rush Holt's bill to require voter-verified paper ballots.

In a nutshell, "passage of the Holt bill would be the single most positive development in this country this decade to ensure the security, integrity and verifiability of elections."

Coming from one of the best-credentialed and most responsible critics of many of today's electronic voting systems, this endorsement carries a lot of weight with me.

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Tuesday, February 13, 2007

US beats UK on child well-being

UNICEF has rated 21 industrialized nations for child well-being according to 40 indicators, including poverty, relationships with parents, and health.

The good news is that the US comes out ahead of the United Kingdom. The bad news is that it comes out behind the other 19 countries:
1. Netherlands
2. Sweden
3. Denmark
4. Finland
5. Spain
6. Switzerland
7. Norway
8. Italy
9. Republic of Ireland
10. Belgium
11. Germany
12. Canada
13. Greece
14. Poland
15. Czech Republic
16. France
17. Portugal
18. Austria
19. Hungary
[ Other press coverage ]

The full report: An overview of child well-being in rich countries.

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Thursday, February 01, 2007

New Florida Governor gives up on touch-screen voting

An article by Abby Goodnough and Christopher Drew in the New York Times reports a speech in which Florida's new Republican governor announced plans to abandon touch-screen voting machines throughout Florida in time for the 2008 presidential elections.

Voting experts said Florida’s move, coupled with new federal voting legislation expected this year, could largely signal the death knell for the paperless electronic machines. If as expected the Florida Legislature approves the $32 million cost of the change, in fact, it will be the nation’s biggest repudiation yet of touch-screen voting, which was widely adopted after the 2000 recount as a state-of-the-art means of restoring confidence that everyone’s vote would count.

Several counties around the country, including Cuyahoga in Ohio and Sarasota in Florida, have exchanged touch-screen machines for others that provide a paper trail. But Florida could become the first state that invested heavily in recent rush to touch screens to reject them so sweepingly...

“You should, when you go vote, be able to have a record of it,” Mr. Crist told a few hundred mostly older citizens at the South County Civic Center in Delray Beach, where thousands of residents accidentally voted for Patrick J. Buchanan in 2000 instead of Al Gore because of the confusing ballot design. “That’s all we’re proposing today. It’s not very complicated; it is in fact common sense. Most importantly, it is the right thing to do.”

Mr. Crist’s renunciation of touch-screen voting, just one month after he replaced Jeb Bush as governor of the nation’s fourth-largest state, suggested that the fight for paper voting records, long a pet project of Democrats, might now become more bipartisan.

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