Saturday :: Nov 22, 2003

California to Require Electronic Voting Machine Paper Trail by 2006

by paradox

Posted by paradox

At least a shred of sanity has returned to the California political landscape: Secretary of State Kevin Shelley announced yesterday that all electronic voting machines used in the state must provide an auditable paper trail by 2006.

Excellent documentation for all facets of the decision have been posted at the SecState's official website. Thank you, Mr. Shelley, for such an exemplary browser implementation.

The Los Angeles Times quotes a Sequoia company official with an estimate that the changes will add $60 million to the cost of the new machines.

It was always an outrageously bad idea that the software running the machines would be privately owned code, shut off, incredibly, from any public oversight by copyright law. Look at this little gem from recommendations of the report:

“The distribution of qualified voting system software should be tightly controlled. NIST should distribute qualified object and source code to the State, and the State, not the vendors, should control the distribution of object code to the local jurisdiction using that system.”

Voting registrar officials are already whining about the recommendations—humans do not like change, especially administrators. All the procedures they’ve worked up for the new machines must be scrapped and they’ll have to work hard.

There’s also a credibility backlash from the registrars. They’re in the embarrassing position of having to admit that what they considered adequate voting mechanisms before are, in fact, almost worthless and extremely dangerous.

Tough. The machines are indefensible and the sooner they stop whining the better it will be for everyone. The new rule implementation will be easier, too, with the proper frame of mind. This is a very important, great first step in improving the new voting machines, but the story is not nearly over and extremely alert, patient eyes will be watching the new changes every single step of the way.

paradox :: 5:21 AM :: Comments (2) :: Digg It!