Since the 2000 Presidential election, people have been talking about ways to create a less error prone voting system. Most computer security experts seem to agree (and it seemed obvious to me from the beginning) that one indispensible component of an easy-to-use electronic voting system would be a physical audit trail of who voted for which candidates. Anyone in the copyright industry can tell you that bits are easier to manipulate than atoms. Unfortunately, the people in charge of creating these systems have ignored this common sense requirement, and as has been documented by Black Box Voting, may even be actively working against conducting a fair vote.
- Federal Computer Week: Jury still out on e-voting
- Text of the Voter Confidence and Increased Accessibility Act of 2003, introduced by Rush Holt (D-NJ). Holt’s web site describes the bill here. Basically it mandates that a paper trail of votes be created.
- Online petition demanding the inclusion of a paper trail in the voting process.
- Wired News article describing the current flawed voting machines.
- Verified Voting, a political organization started by Stanford computer science professor David Dill to pressure politicians on this issue. (See the how to help page in particular.)
What frustrates me most about the insecure voting machines is that this is an information technology problem, and the US leads the world in information technology. I don’t understand why these machines aren’t designed by people who actually have a clue about what a secure and verifiable system looks like. I also think that the voting machines should contain only open source software so that smart people can verify that the voting process isn’t rigged or flawed, but I don’t have much hope of that happening.