Monday, October 20, 2008

US moving to optical mark-sense rather than DRE

Note: DRE stands for Direct-Record Electronic, most commonly in the US these are "touch screen voting machines".

The main issue, according to a 2005 overview of electronic voting by the Institute of Governmental Studies at the University of California-Berkeley, is that if the record of votes cast exists only in digital form in a touch-screen system, there is no independent way to confirm the votes were recorded accurately and thus no way to conduct a reliable recount.

Overall, in the nation’s 170,000 polling places, there has been a shift from predominantly using manual systems (lever machines, punch cards, paper ballots) to computer-based systems (optical scan and DREs) in federal elections.

But according to news reports, as a result of the controversy over DRE machines, in the 2008 election many states might use optical scan paper ballots that require voters to fill in ovals with a pen.

Debate Continues over Security, Reliability of Voting Technology - America.gov - 27 August 2008

As I've said before, optical scan is the least-worst electronic technology, because you can at least do a manual recount of the paper ballots,

but you're still better off just counting the paper ballots by hand in the first place.


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