Why You Need Backup Systems For Voting: Something Will Go Wrong

from the again-and-again-and-again dept

The e-voting saga continues. One of the problems is that there are so many different ways things can go wrong with e-voting systems, that it's impossible to think of them all beforehand. That's why it's particularly ridiculous when the e-voting firms try to limit the type of testing that can be done on the machines. Yet, it seems like hardly an election goes by where some problems with the machines aren't reported. The latest is in Montgomery County, Maryland, where apparently someone forgot that the various e-voting machines in use require special voting cards. Without them, you can't vote... and many polling places opened up this morning without them. Now, obviously, this is a human error, not a technical one -- but it just highlights how many possible things can go wrong -- and the importance of a ready and available system for backups, no matter what happens when you're dealing with something like an election. The idea that nothing (on either the human or technical side) would go wrong is ridiculous -- but it's a view championed by the e-voting companies who don't like to admit that errors are possible, if not likely. Update: Avi Rubin, who has written about security issues with e-voting machines, and who also has volunteered in the past as an election judge did so again today. He's written up his account, and it lists many, many, many more problems with the e-voting equipment. Not only that, but he notes that the Diebold rep on site in case things went wrong was really just a contractor who had been hired the day before and knew nothing about the machines and was of no help at all. The only positive note in the piece is that many more voters complained about the use of e-voting machines.

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  1. identicon
    Ted Brown, 12 Sep 2006 @ 5:00pm

    Who's looking for a solution?

    This is obviously a huge issue, so I was wondering if y'all know of companies looking to compete in this arena.

    Since you guys seem to hit similar things so often (voting, net neutrality, etc), could you maybe create a resource page for them? Or is that venturing into your paid services?

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