Monday, October 04, 2004

Edmonton e-voting

this year, the City of Edmonton has rented 21 audio-electronic voting machines, which will allow citizens who can't see well to cast their ballots without help. And everyone else who votes in advance will do so electronically, too -- traditional paper ballots will be available only on election day, Oct. 18.


Electronic voting machines have been severely criticized in the U.S., where they were used for the first time in 2002. In July 2003, professors at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore released a scathing report that said the machines were open to tampering and made meaningful recounts impossible because they leave no paper trail.

But operations manager Steve Thompson, who led the project, is confident the electronic voting terminals the city is renting will perform without a hitch. He points out that the machines are independent of one another and store voting records in three separate places, including on a removable pack that can be taken from a broken machine and read in another.

"We don't believe that the failure of a single or even two or three machines would in any way jeopardize the ability to count the votes that had been cast on that machine," Thompson said.


There are no plans, however, to make electronic voting the norm. He estimates the cost of mainstream electronic voting would be about $1.25 million, a price tag he thinks council and taxpayers will find prohibitive.

For heaven's sake, the point isn't whether the votes can be read, the point is whether the votes are accurately recorded.

Edmonton Journal - September 22, 2004
Ballot machine boon for blind voters

This story points out another trend which I saw in the reports from Toronto.
In order to "save money" they like this idea of renting machines, whether it's loaning their own machines out, or using someone else's machines.

So that's great. As if the security problem wasn't hard enough, they're letting the machines change hands repeatedly.
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