Third Party & Independents Archives


I’ve been following voting machines for a few years now. One thing I’m always struck by: the more someone knows about computers, and particularly computer security, the less they support electronic voting machines. Obviously these are not people afraid of change or who don’t trust computers because they don’t understand them.

In Virginia, in California, in Florida, in Georgia, and so on and so on there have been massive problems with electronic voting machines. Voters report touching the screen by one candidates name and having the other candidate's name be highlighted as their choice. Votes have been lost as hard drives crash. In multiple instances, candidates have had negative totals in the thousands. The software that runs the machines has been found to be wildly inadequate by security experts. While the potential for malicious hackers rigging an election is small, the potential for insiders to do so is extremely high as there is no way to detect that it has happened. It's much easier to prove fraud with physical ballots.

Recounts are not even an option with some of the machines, and the manufacturers have aggressively resisted any efforts to make their results verifiable in any meaningful sense. In California and Georgia, the companies illegally patched their machines after they had been certified by the state and the elections were thrown into disarray. The head of the number two voting machine company has declared it is his "duty to deliver the election to the President of the United States" in a fundraising letter to Republicans. Managers at several of the major players have been convicted of bribery in voting machine sales deals. Several State officials, particularly in Florida, have gone on to work for the companies whom they awarded contracts to mere weeks before.

This all strikes me as being wildly incompatible with the idea of democratic elections. For profit companies who are large campaign contributors hold ultimate control over who wins the election. At this point, why bother with the farce of holding elections?

Posted by rev_matt_y at August 24, 2004 4:02 PM