E-Vote Firms on the Defensive

Manufacturers of electronic touch-screen voting machines, stung
by criticism from activists and a string of bad publicity from a
study exposing security flaws, are considering a major PR effort to
convince voters their products are safe. As Kim Zetter reports in
Wired News, a study published in August by researchers at
Johns Hopkins and Rice universities exposed serious technical flaws
in the leading e-voting system, manufactured by Diebold Election

In response, notes Zetter, Diebold and several other voting
machine manufacturers are working with a strategic lobbying firm on
a media campaign to ‘generate positive public perception’ of the
companies and to ‘reduce substantially the level and amount of
criticism from computer scientists and other security experts about
the fallibility of electronic voting systems.’

David Dill, a voting expert on the computer science faculty at
Stanford, is not impressed. ‘The voting machine industry doesn’t
have a PR problem,’ he told Zetter. ‘It has a technology problem.
It is impossible to determine whether their machines, in their
current form, can be trusted with our elections.’ Dill’s website,
VerifiedVoting.org, calls for voting machines to print out a paper
receipt for each voter. That way there is a verifiable paper trail
in the event an election is challenged or must be recounted.

According to industry insiders, some voting machine makers are
even considering dropping their long-standing opposition to the
printed receipts, to mollify state election officials’ concerns and
improve their shot at the $500 million Congress approved last year
for modernizing election systems across the country.
Leif Utne

Go there>>

E-Vote Firms Seek Voter Approval

RELATED: Truthout‘s William Rivers Pitt recently sat
down for several hours with three of the top computer scientists
critical of touch-screen voting machines, David Dill, Rebecca
Mercuri, and Barbara Simons. For a detailed primer on the ins and
outs of the problems with e-voting machines, read their
Go there>>
Voting: What You Need To Know

Related Links:

Caf? Utne: Discuss e-voting machines in the

Comments? Story tips? Write a

letter to the editor

Like this? Want more?Subscribe to Utne

In-depth coverage of eye-opening issues that affect your life.