More Electronic Voting Screwups

from the uh...-not-good dept

More and more reports are coming out about e-voting screwups… with no possible way to repair the damage. Yet, e-voting proponents still insist no paper trail is needed. Ed Felten would like them to explain why a paper trail wasn’t needed in North Carolina where election officials say 12,000 votes were “lost” when their e-voting machines were not updated with the proper software. Apparently, it was an easy issue to fix, but because no one bothered to actually fix it, the machines simply did not record any votes after 10am. Obviously, a paper trail would have been a simple and effective way to counter that. Yet, people still say a paper backup trail is a waste?

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Comments on “More Electronic Voting Screwups”

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Anonymous Coward says:

A semantic suggestion.

Some definitions and a silly suggestion.

paper, n. A substance in the form of thin sheets or leaves intended to be written or printed on, or to be used in wrapping.
audit, n., An examination of records or financial accounts to check their accuracy.

Would it better to say “audit trail” instead of “paper trail”?


Oliver Wendell Jones (profile) says:

Re: A semantic suggestion.

no, because then the manufacturers would state their program includes an electronic audit trail, but we can’t see it for “security reasons”. There is also no guarantee that a non-paper audit-trail would be any safer than the vote storage system itself.

It could theoretically scratch the votes into stone tablets or engrave it on to metal plates instead of printing it on paper, but paper is reliable, cheap and we have plenty of experience transferring ink to paper electronically.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: A semantic suggestion.

Okay, so what you’re saying is that using paper is the safest and most reliable way to
audit the voting process and that insisting on any other method is
unnecessarily dangerous.

If you don’t trust one manufacturer of the computer controlled optical scan
you can always get another one with the same specs from a second
(or third) manufacturer.


John Pinnow says:

Paper journal useless anyway

Even if you hade paper verification, unlike
optical scan the paper journaling scan can be
computer controlled.

How hard can it be to output a few more lines of dummy votes for a different candidate to this journal during voting machine idle time.

So even in the case of a paper trail, the paper trail journal can be electronicly manipulated.

Larry Armstrong says:

Re: Paper journal useless anyway

1). Voter makes choices, decides they are finished, clicks on the vote button.
2). A peice of paper is printed with the voter’s choices in human readable format.
3). Voter checks the slip for errors, and if correct places in a locked box for audit/recount purposes — If not correct, vote is voided by offical and slip is marked spoiled.

How hard is that?

John Pinnow says:

Re: Re: Paper journal useless anyway

I must say that is a great idea. However,
some might wine that it is xtra handling.

I did also consider they could also set up
a machine to have match ballot sequence/cookie numbers too.
However, I like the idea of physicaly handling a piece of paper
instead if it disapearing behind plexiglass


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