Legal Issues

by Mike Masnick

Congress Looks To Outlaw E-Voting Machines Without An Audit Trail

from the let's-see-how-that-goes dept

Over the past few years, it seems that more and more people have realized the problems with e-voting systems. Amusingly, in the comments to our last post about the limits Florida was trying to put on researchers testing the e-voting machines for security, we had someone show up in the comments claiming that this is all a big charade -- and that e-voting machines are thoroughly tested by government agencies. Despite being asked a few times, the commenter has not explained why the company hired to do the testing was barred from further testing after they were unable to document whether or not they had conducted the tests at all. His response was that we're all just a bunch of conspiracy theorists, and that no one other than approved government agencies should get to test these machines, since we're all too ignorant to understand how e-voting machines should work, and because of our ignorance we'd hand over info to irresponsible parties (which seems like an admission that the machines aren't actually safe -- if there is information that can be handed over that would cause problems, then the machine shouldn't be used in an election). He also accuses anyone (including respected professors Ed Felten and Avi Rubin) of just being "conspiracy theorists" though none of us have put forth any conspiracy theory -- except for the commenter. He claims that the security concerns over e-voting machines are really a big conspiracy to spread fear and make everyone mistrust the voting system so we stay home on election day. Of course, it's not clear how that fear is targeted in a way to ensure that one side wins -- but perhaps we're not thinking it through enough.

In the meantime, it looks like Congress must be up for continuing this "conspiracy." Despite the fact that most in Congress seemed to show little to no interest for many years as security experts pointed out the problems with the machines, now they're talking about introducing new legislation that would require that e-voting machines have an audit trail. It's not clear how a system that allows for recounting the votes is a way to add more fear to the e-voting process and keep us home, so I hope the same commenter can enlighten us on how this conspiracy works.

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  1. identicon
    factoid, 9 Feb 2007 @ 7:37am

    Moot Discussion

    I think that an audit trail (of some tangible form, like paper) is an outstanding idea.

    However, the constitution explicity denies jurisdiction over voting to the Congress. This discussion might as well be about monkeys flying in the restricted airspace over Roswell, NM.

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