Electronic Voting

ELECTRONIC VOTING….I’ve written about touchscreen voting machines before: I generally don’t like them since they don’t provide an auditable paper trail, but on the other hand I’m a little skeptical about the scope for deliberate hanky panky.

But maybe I shouldn’t be. Jeanne d’Arc tells the story of what happened in her town last year with an electronic voting system:

In the March 2002 primary election, the vote counts from our absentee and mail-in ballots showed up on Diebold’s Web site in the middle of the afternoon — four and a half hours before the polls closed.

What the hell was Diebold doing looking at our vote counts in the middle of election day? And how did they get those votes?

Unfortunately, our local paper misses the point by focusing on whether the information was “in the public domain on election day” and whether Diebold having the information affected the final vote. The central point really is that it was illegal for Diebold to have that information before the polls were closed….

This didn’t affect the vote, and the system in question uses optical scanning machines (my favorites), so it does have a paper trail. But the story is still a bit chilling.

And while you’re over there, Jeanne also has an amusing anecdote about Fox News’ coverage of the recent Arnold-less debate.