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ELECTRONIC TECHNOLOGY: THE 21ST CENTURY VOTING POLL INNOVATION

Direct Recording Electronic machines, (DRE) or touch-screen technology is rapidly replacing the paper ballots hand-marked by voters. However, DRE technology has raised questions about the reliability of this method unless it has a verifiable paper trail. Stanford Professor David Dill added his voice to the rising concerns of computer scientists and professors. Dill's concerns include the possibility of programming errors, equipment malfunctioning and malicious tampering.

Concerned citizens are also joining the fray. Recently, Maureen and Michael Smith of Aptos have begun an educational public campaign regarding safeguards necessary for electronic voting.

[ Resolution on Electronic Voting ]
ELECTRONIC TECHNOLOGY--THE 21ST CENTURY VOTING POLL INNOVATION
by Ruth Hunter

"Butterfly Ballots or Hanging Chads"--fiascos of the 2000 year presidential election--will probably become election history. Direct Recording Electronic machines, (DRE) or touch-screen technology is rapidly replacing the paper ballots hand-marked by voters. However, DRE technology has raised questions about the reliability of this method unless it has a verifiable paper trail.

According to Rebecca Mercouri, Professor of Computer Science, Bryn Mawr College, "The demon is down the tubes unless the trend for using insecure electronic systems is not stopped. The most vulnerable...are electronic touch-screen or DRE devices because of lack of voter verifiable
audit". Stanford Professor David Dill added his voice to the rising concerns of computer scientists and professors. The latter have signed on to the Dill "Resolution on Electronic Voting" www.verifiedvoting.org Dill's concerns include the possibility of programming errors, equipment malfunctioning and malicious tampering. Concerned citizens are also joining the fray. Recently, Maureen and Michael Smith of Aptos have begun an educational public campaign regarding safeguards necessary for electronic voting. Surfing the internet, Maureen learned that three companies, Electronic Systems and Software, Diebold, and Sequoia serviced as much as 80% of the national vote. In 2002,the federal government mandated states to direct their counties to upgrade voting equipment, and allocated four billion dollars for electronic safeguards for verification of voter votes. In order to plug these omissions, Representative Rush Holt of New Jersey has introduced the "Voter Confidence and Increased Accessibility Act" of 2003.

Provisions include:

1. The requirement that voting systems produce a voter verified paper record;

2. Bans the use of undisclosed software;

3. Requires omissions be corrected before the 2004 election;

4. Requires electronic voting systems to provide for persons with disabilities by 2006;

5. And finally, require mandatory surprise recounts of 0.5% domestic and overseas jurisdiction.


Representative Sam Farr also recommends a paper ballot with signature verification. Contact his local office, (831) 429-1976 and urge Repr. Farr to become a sponsor of the "Voter Confidence and Increased Accessibility Act of 2003". Commend Rep. Holt, 1019 Longworth House Office
Bldg, Washington, D.C.20515, for his important legislation.

Closer to home, in California, 31 out of 58 counties rely upon one of these DRE voting systems.In California,the Secretary of State, Kevin Shelley, will be contacting counties in the next few weeks regarding electronic voting machines and voting procedures. This is a critical time for public imput. Ardent proponents for a paper trail, encouraged by the Smiths' of Aptos, are writing to Secretary Shelley,at 1500 11th Street, Sacramento, CA., 95814, urging him to recommend voting technology that uses accountable verifiable touch-screen machines.In addition,they are raising public awareness, reaching out to Santa Cruz organizations,informing memberships of the importance of reliable electronic voting that provide machines with a paper trail.

Not surprising,the Santa Cruz City Council has recently passed a resolution endorsing the Holt House Resolution 2239. The mayor has been directed to "communicate the Council's support to the bill's author and to the City's State and Federal representatives". The Smiths' had compiled the information which was presented to the City Council by Mayor Reilly, Vice Mayor Kennedy and Councilmember Fitzmaurice. Responsibility for election procedures locally are under the supervision of Gail Pellerin, Elections Manager of the County of Santa Cruz. During our interview, she expressed her views candidly regarding changing from ballot marking to electronic voting. "I need to learn more about the mechanism for a paper trail. What are the options available? What works for Santa Cruz? Some of the decisions will rest on the State of California's report due in the next few weeks". However, she went on to say, "I don't want to change the system in the presidential election in 2004. Not a smart move in this County."

Integrity, according to Gail,in the Santa Cruz County voting system is very high. "Protecting the democratic process is our one priority. The bottom line - we want the voters to feel safe, secure and well-served when they vote. That's our job". No one could ask for anything more!
 
 


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Re: ELECTRONIC TECHNOLOGY: THE 21ST CENTURY VOTING POLL INNOVATION

Some more see also!

An early activist.

An EFF action item tell Congress.

Chaum banned!
 

Re: ELECTRONIC TECHNOLOGY: THE 21ST CENTURY VOTING POLL INNOVATION

Why not use open source software all the way? Shouldn't the systems, methods, and procedures all be publicly known and used transparently, in full public view? Why is there such a rush to lock us into novel, relatively unproven, and proprietary black-box systems?

Did any of you read about the plan to publish the actual votes online, so that anyone could see their own vote and verify it, though full secrecy (i.e., ability to link vote to voter) would be maintained? Isn't publication of the data probably the best way to ensure that the people trust the integrity of the process? Couldn't people whose votes were misregistered or miscounted simply come forward to blow the whistle? Couldn't different people then count the same votes with different software to verify (or contest) the official count?
 

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