Wired News: Aussies Do It Right: E-Voting
The issues of voter-verifiable receipts and secret voting systems could be resolved in the United States by a bill introduced to the House of Representatives last May by Rep. Rush Holt (D-New Jersey). The bill would force voting-machine makers nationwide to provide receipts and make the source code for voting machines open to the public. The bill has 50 co-sponsors so far, all of them Democrats.
“If a voting system precludes any notion of a meaningful recount, is cloaked in secrecy and controlled by individuals with conflicts of interest, why would anyone buy it?,” Quinn said. “At the very least give citizens the right to choose whether they want to use paper ballots … thus allowing each elector to be personally satisfied as to the integrity of the process in which they are participating.”
Quinn, who was working in Chicago for Motorola during the 2000 presidential election, says he is “gob smacked” by what he sees happening among U.S. electronic voting machine makers, whom he says have too much control over the democratic process.
It has been widely reported that Ohio-based Diebold Election Systems, one of the biggest U.S. voting-machine makers, purposely disabled some of the security features in its software. According to reports the move left a backdoor in the system through which someone could enter and manipulate data. In addition, Walden O’Dell, Diebold Election System’s chief executive, is a leading fundraiser for the Republican Party. He stated recently that he was “committed to helping Ohio deliver its electoral votes to the president next year.”
“The only possible motive I can see for disabling some of the security mechanisms and features in their system is to be able to rig elections,” Quinn said. “It is, at best, bad programming; at worst, the system has been designed to rig an election.”
“I can’t imagine what it must be like to be an American in the midst of this and watching what’s going on,” Quinn added. “Democracy is for the voters, not for the companies making the machines…. I would really like to think that when it finally seeps in to the collective American psyche that their sacred Democracy has been so blatantly abused, they will get mad.”
But he says that the security of voting systems in the U.S. shouldn’t concern Americans alone.
“After all, we’ve all got a stake in who’s in the White House these days. I’m actually prone to think that the rest of the world should get a vote in your elections since, quite frankly, the U.S. policy affects the rest of the world so heavily.”
AboutThis is an unfocused catch-all personal blog written by a South African environmental journalist living in Cape Town. My professional blog is Leaves of language.
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