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Subject: US experiences with eVoting systems questioned

See also the ACM report from 02/2006 on voter registration systems :



Reversing Course on Electronic Voting

Wall Street Journal (05/12/06) P. A4; Cummings, Jeanne 

Citing the spate of demonstrated vulnerabilities in e-voting machines,
some supporters of the 2002 Help America Vote Act have grown concerned
that the law intended to improve the voting process could have made
things much worse, and have begun filing lawsuits to block the
compliance efforts of some state election officials. The law, passed to
ensure that the confusion surrounding the 2000 presidential election is
not repeated, requires states to upgrade their voting systems to
electronic machines, which at the time were considered more reliable
than the archaic paper ballots being used in many states. Arizona was
sued last week over the e-voting machines that it purchased with
federal money authorized by the act, and a suit is likely to be filed
against Colorado election officials next week. The Arizona lawsuit
charges that the e-voting machines are unreliable, susceptible to
fraud, and that electronic ballots are more difficult to recount than
paper ones. The Help America Vote Act "has been turned on its head and
it's causing more problems than solutions at this point," said Lowell
Finley, co-founder of Voter Action. Diebold argues that its equipment
is secure, and that it runs on technology that has been in use for at
least a decade. Several states returned to paper ballots after
experiencing glitches in electronic machines in the 2004 election. In
addition the charge that they are unreliable, critics of touch-screen
systems claim that the sophisticated technology gives too much control
over the election process to equipment makers. Investigations into
glitches in e-voting systems have uncovered both technical flaws and
cases of user error. Although, there has not yet been a proven instance
of anyone electronically manipulating votes in an actual election,
computer scientists say it's possible. A 2005 report from the
Commission on Federal Election Reform warned that "Software can be
modified maliciously before being installed into individual voting
machines. There is no reason to trust insiders in the election industry
any more than in other industries." To view a report entitled "Statewide
Databases of Registered Voters," by ACM's U.S. Publica Policy Committee,
visit http://www.acm.org/usacm/VRD

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