Justin Rood says, “Electronic voting machines mostly suck“. I’ve offered some thoughts here and there on this topic on this blog, but now it seems that the National Institute of Standards and Technology thinks paperless electronic voting machines are a problem, too:
Paperless electronic voting machines used throughout the Washington region and much of the country “cannot be made secure,” according to draft recommendations issued this week by a federal agency that advises the U.S. Election Assistance Commission.
The assessment by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, one of the government’s premier research centers, is the most sweeping condemnation of such voting systems by a federal agency.
In a report hailed by critics of electronic voting, NIST said that voting systems should allow election officials to recount ballots independently from a voting machine’s software. The recommendations endorse “optical-scan” systems in which voters mark paper ballots that are read by a computer and electronic systems that print a paper summary of each ballot, which voters review and elections officials save for recounts.
The key word is ‘Paperless’. Actually, the idea of paper is just the notion of having some kind of traiI that can be verified at the time of voting and later during recount. I think the Diebold and other touch-screen systems could work if there was a secured paper trail along with the system: something of a locked, transparent container attached to the actual machine that printed off your vote when you made it (so you could see it and verify it before actually voting). If we’re going to keep using these systems, we need this now. Or else we’ll see more stories like this one coming out of Florida.