ME and Ophelia

Monday, February 02, 2004


A digital ballot box might miscount votes without anyone noticing

US Mercury News report extract: "Poll workers in Alameda County noticed something strange on election night in October. As a computer counted absentee ballots in the recall race, workers were stunned to see a big surge in support for a fringe candidate named John Burton.

Concerned that their new $12.7 million Diebold electronic voting system had developed a glitch, election officials turned to a company representative who happened to be on hand.

Lucky he was there. For an unknown reason, the computerized tally program had begun to award votes for Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante to Burton, a socialist from Southern California.

Similar mishaps have occurred across the country since election officials embraced electronic voting in the wake of the Florida vote-counting debacle of 2000.

To guard against error and fraud, the state requires that the companies only install approved software on electronic voting machines. But in California, one of the biggest voting-equipment companies, Diebold Election Systems, provided 17 counties with uncertified software that was used in recent elections.

When Californians go to the polls next month to choose a presidential candidate, many voters will cast a virtual ballot by pressing a computer touch screen that records their votes digitally. The only tangible proof that a citizen has voted -- and how he voted -- will be fingerprints left on the machine's screen.

Electronic voting removes the risk of election officials misinterpreting hanging chads. But it raises another electoral peril: that a digital ballot box might miscount votes without anyone noticing."

Note: Diebold's site states that some 33,000 Diebold voting stations are being used simultaneously in locations across the United States to assist voters in exercising their most fundamental constitutional right: The right to vote.

View: Diebold's January 2004 press releases on "Maryland Security Study Validates Diebold Election Systems Equipment for March 2004 Primary" and "Nineteen Additional Ohio Counties Select Diebold Election Systems as Electronic Voting Systems Provider".

[Link courtesy of Abstract Dynamics - with thanks]

# posted by Ingrid J. Jones @ 2/02/2004
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