Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Electronic Voting Switch Threatens Mass Confusion

If you thought the 2000 election dispute was a mess, you aint seen mothing yet. Thanks to the HAVA Act '02, which was passed specifically because of what happened in Fla, every State will now be voting on electronic voting machines that are neither secure nor reliable. Magnify what happened in Fla times 50, and you'll be in the ballpark for what to expect...

This comes to us via Brad Blog:
As John Gideon asked in today's Daily Voting News, why is it that the Financial Times of London is reporting on our nation's electoral meltdown this year, while the national mainstream media in America couldn't seem to care less?
Financial Times: The last three election cycles in the US have been marked by controversy not only about candidates, but also about the fairness and accuracy of the voting process. And as voters head to the polls today for primaries in some jurisdictions, the coming cycle promises more of the same.

With about 8,000 separate election authorities managing approximately 175,000 polling places and perhaps as many as 150,000 different ballot forms that include choices for everyone from senator to dogcatcher, American elections are complex even when all goes well. But this cycle sees many states and smaller jurisdictions making last-minute efforts to switch to electronic voting, and early signs of trouble are appearing. (...)

After the 2000 presidential election made “hanging chad” a sure laugh line for television comics, Congress passed the “Help America Vote Act”, or Hava.

The law promised states funding to replace old voting technology with computerised systems.

The new systems fall into two categories – optical scan systems, in which voters mark paper ballots that are read by computer scanners, and direct recording electronic (DRE) systems in which voters touch computer screens or push buttons to mark their ballots.

But delays in setting standards, insufficient funding for Hava, and lack of technical expertise among the nation’s election administrators have election experts predicting the 2006 election will not run smoothly.

Last September, the US Government Accountability Office issued a report with a litany of potential flaws in the reliability and sec-urity of electronic voting and warned that steps needed to ensure voter confidence in the integrity of the vote were unlikely to be in place in time for the 2006 election. ...(more)

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