In the ongoing debate we've had with an e-voting company employee in our comments, we were told repeatedly that last month's story that the US Election Assistance Commission had barred the largest testing firm from testing e-voting machines was overblown. Now, it appears that EAC officials are trying to convince more people of that as well, saying that it was nothing out of the ordinary to ban the firm who tested most e-voting machines, after it was determined that they weren't complying with the testing rules. They claim that the press and blogs (such as this one, we assume) got something "lost in the translation." That may be true, but they seem to be missing the point. If there were real transparency in all of this and real security experts were free to do the tests they wanted, then people would feel a lot more comfortable about things. The problem is that there's almost no transparency, other than some "public tests" that are still limited. At the end of the article things get even more bizarre. The EAC folks complains that they haven't been able to do as much as they want because they have "limited resources." In other words, they're admitting that the current resources aren't enough for them to make sure these machines are thoroughly tested. There's a really simple solution to all of this. There is a good group of security experts out there who aren't just willing, but are pretty much begging to help test these machines to make sure they really are secure. Why won't the EAC open up the testing to let them take part? It should be a total win-win solution. The critics can see for themselves what's really going on and if the machines withstand the scrutiny then that should make everyone happy and a lot more comfortable with elections that use the machines.
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