What's More Important: Accurate Elections Or Fast Results?
from the accuracy-is-overrated dept
First, there's Election Systems and Software (ES&S) makers of buggy e-voting machines (that they admitted in internal memos) that have been known to lose votes or count them in triplicate depending on the election. San Francisco currently uses ES&S machines to count ballots, but those machines don't work very well -- especially if the voter isn't using exactly the right type of pen or pencil. When the secretary of state demanded that ES&S allow outside security experts to examine their machines and software, the company refused to allow it, and then finally gave in, well past the deadline, and included an angry petulent letter threatening the secretary of state. This, despite the fact that the company was caught providing uncertified equipment for the last election. With all that baggage, is it any wonder that the secretary of state would ask for a more thorough method of counting the votes?
The second e-voting firm, Sequoia, was chosen by San Francisco as a replacement vendor to get rid of the questionable ES&S machines. Of course, Sequoia has its own share of problems. Last year it was revealed that there was a button on the machines that would put the machine into "manual" mode and let you vote multiple times. Sequoia claimed this button was a feature. Reasonably, San Francisco's board of supervisors requested that Sequoia hand over their software to be reviewed -- a request which Sequoia refused. Thus, the board rejected the contract... leaving everyone in the situation they're in today. So, while elections officials may complain about the rules for counting votes, it's not the secretary of state they should blame, but the e-voting companies who continue to stonewall when it comes to actually making sure their machines are secure and accurate. And, in the meantime, can someone explain to elections officials that their job is to conduct fair and accurate elections, rather than elections with quick results?