Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Just trust us

You're using a computer. Do you trust it to secure your vote?

Uh, no. A durable, recountable audit trail is a fundamental requirement of trustworthy, non-banana-republican elections. If someone wants to imprint cuneiform on clay tablets, that's o.k., though I would expect it to be a lot more expensive and less usable than paper. But don't try to pawn off something that could be hacked with a global find and replace from a 30-year-old text editor.

That said, a touch screen that produces a voter-verified ballot can be very beneficial. If Section 508 compliant, it can help the disabled vote without assistance. More generally, it can prevent overvotes and unintentional undervotes, which would have been a godsend in Florida in 2000.

This type of machine is not a dream. My precinct already has one, mainly for the disabled, but I used it in May town elections because one of the poll workers is a friend of mine, and she made me.

No comments: