Saturday, October 28, 2006

A preview of Florida 2006

There is a story in today's Miami Herald about glitches in the voting machines during early voting. You can only imagine what Election Day will be like if these problems were encountered with a relatively small number of voters at the polls. While most of my comments about e-voting have to do with security threats that are invisible, I am also discouraged by the widespread technical problems that are not just noticeable, but screaming for attention.

Quoting from the article,

    "He touched the screen for gubernatorial candidate Jim Davis, a Democrat, but the review screen repeatedly registered the Republican, Charlie Crist. That's exactly the kind of problem that sends conspiracy theorists into high gear -- especially in South Florida, where a history of problems at the polls have made voters particularly skittish."

The article contains other specific examples of the voting machines getting the wrong information on the summary screen. Who knows if the votes that are recorded correspond to the actual choices or to the summary screen. The fact that they don't match is enough reason to conclude that this is an unacceptable way to vote.

Our EAC chairman stated, as I quoted in my previous blog entry, "The bottom line is that our nation's voting equipment, election results and election officials can and should be trusted." I don't see how such a statement can be made in light of the problems with the equipment that early voters in Florida are reporting.

I'm often wondering what it will take to get rid of electronic voting in this country. I used to think that it might take a computer glitch or malicious hacker to cause a ridiculous result, but now I'm thinking that maybe these machines will just fail so miserably that the public will not tolerate them.