Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Diebold produces paper, ITAA manufactures excuses

Diebold Election Systems, a target of many electronic-voting critics during the 2004 U.S. election, announced Thursday it has completed the design for a printer that would give its e-voting machines a paper trail.

I imagine that must have been quite the piece of design work, considering the voting machines already have internal paper printers, and Diebold has been producing ATMs that give paper receipts for years.

Fortunately, Diebold has the ITAA to explain away the need for a paper trail.
You know what I think about industry lobby groups?
I think they should shut up.
Why don't they just lead into all their statements with "we are stating the following for the financial gain of corporations".

Here's my enhanced version of the report

The Information Technology Association of America, which has defended e-voting machines as accurate and safe, says

the following to help protect the financial gain of corporations:

Diebold's move appears to be focused on the demand for paper-trail ballots. "It's a situation where companies are going to provide what their customers want," says Bob Cohen, executive vice president of the ITAA, which counts e-voting machine makers among its members.

ITAA officials have questioned if voter-verified paper trails will provide a significant benefit while adding costs to e-voting machines. Though the ITAA maintains that widespread attacks on e-voting machines are unlikely, officials there suggest that programmers smart enough to change ballots inside e-voting machines could also manipulate the printouts.

"Our point all along is that paper-based solutions are one alternative," Cohen says. "It gets to be as much an issue of peace of mind for the voters as anything else."

Oh yes those silly voters, they shouldn't worry their pretty little heads.

Mr. Cohen, that is an idiotic statement.
An election is the transformation of a collective act of voting into confidence that the government was fairly selected. Why is that important? Well for example, in the US national government, a few hundred elected officials decide the policies for THREE HUNDRED MILLION PEOPLE. Elections give a tiny number of politicians power over the lives of millions. Without the confidence of those millions, the system falls apart.

As for this voter-verified paper, it's fixing the effect, not the cause.
The cause is that you can't trust the computer.
I say, cut out the middleman. Vote on paper. Count the paper. See how easy that is?

Story is from PC World - January 27, 2005.
Diebold to Market Paper-Trail E-Voting System

On a related note, I'm thinking of buying a new book that just came out:
Your Call Is Important to Us : The Truth About Bullshit.
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