Saturday, September 11, 2004
Secrecy shrouds US e-vote
The three companies that certify the US' voting technologies operate in secrecy, and refuse to discuss flaws in the ATM-like machines to be used by nearly one in three voters in the presidential poll in November.
Despite concerns over whether the touchscreen machines can be trusted, the testing companies will not say publicly if they have encountered shoddy workmanship. They companies said they are committed to secrecy in their contracts with the voting machines' makers - even though tax money ultimately buys or leases the machines.
"I find it grotesque that an organisation charged with such a heavy responsibility feels no obligation to explain to anyone what it is doing," Michael Shamos, a Carnegie Mellon computer scientist and electronic voting expert, told lawmakers in Washington, D.C.
The system for "testing and certifying voting equipment in this country is not only broken, but is virtually nonexistent," Mr Shamos said.