Saturday, October 30, 2004

electronic voting: electronic errors

A year ago, in their debut in Fairfax County, Va., electronic voting systems succeeded in uniting local Republicans and Democrats—in dismay. Problems with the systems in the local Fairfax elections threw the results in at least one race into doubt.

What concerns many election experts and voters alike is that history will repeat itself in the 2004 election. But on a national scale.

For Fairfax, 10 out of the 1,000 touch-screen DRE (direct recording electronic) voting machines failed on election day in 2003, and were then repaired and returned to the polls—all without security checks.

During the election, votes disappeared before the eyes of the citizens casting them because of a random software bug. Interviewed by the Washington Post newspaper, Republican Virginia state senator Keb Cuccinelli said, "We've just done an electronic Florida."

Now, with advance electronic voting already taking place in Florida, there are fears that Florida will also repeat its 2000 election fiasco, only this time electronically. And there's plenty of reason for voters in other states to be concerned as well.

While hundreds of elections over the last year that depended on DRE voting machines have gone off without a hitch, there has been no test of the magnitude of next week's presidential election for e-voting. With voter turnout expected to be high, and partisans on both sides looking for any advantage possible in "battleground" states, the possibility of widespread trouble is real.

I think "digital chads" is a stupid term, but anyway...

eWeek.com - October 29, 2004
Digital Chads: E-Voting Errors Almost Inevitable
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