Is touchscreen voting worse than…

Is touchscreen voting worse than what we have now?

Touchscreen voting will be implemented soon in California. Many think it is a wonderful idea as it greatly simplifies the process of voting as well as counting the votes. Greens favor touchscreen because it makes going to Instant Runoff Voting possible. However a coalition of computer professionals and researchers is strongly opposing touchscreen voting.

Why? Because there is no audit trail with touchscreen voting. And with no audit trail, all manner of mischief is possible.

From Dan Gillmor’s Silicon Valley column

“Listen to the people who know technology best — computer-science professors and researchers from the nation’s top universities and labs.

They’ve signed onto a document urging voting officials everywhere to think further before acting so stupidly. Their language is blunt, and frightening in its implications. Here is the gist of their message:

“Computerized voting equipment is inherently subject to programming error, equipment malfunction, and malicious tampering. It is therefore crucial that voting equipment provide a voter-verifiable audit trail, by which we mean a permanent record of each vote that can be checked for accuracy by the voter before the vote is submitted, and is difficult or impossible to alter after it has been checked.

Many of the electronic voting machines being purchased do not satisfy this requirement. Voting machines should not be purchased or used unless they provide a voter-verifiable audit trail; when such machines are already in use, they should be replaced or modified to provide a voter-verifiable audit trail. Providing a voter-verifiable audit trail should be one of the essential requirements for certification of new voting systems.

And lookie here, Senator Chuck Hagel (NE-R) has apparently been less than forthcoming about his financial interest in the largest voting machine company in America.  

“One underlying issue is whether Hagel properly disclosed his financial ties to Election Systems & Software (ES&S), a company that makes nearly half the voting machines used in the United States, including all those used in his native Nebraska.

ES&S is a subsidiary of McCarthy Group Inc., which is jointly held by the holding firm and the Omaha World-Herald Co., which publishes the state’s largest newspaper. The voting machine company makes sophisticated optical scan and touch-screen vote-counting devices that many states have begun buying in recent years.”

Conspiracy buffs, start your engines.