Tuesday, April 27, 2004

CNN.com - E-voting developers on the defensive - Apr 26, 2004

Computer scientists, lawmakers worried about glitches
Tuesday, April 27, 2004 Posted: 9:24 AM EDT (1324 GMT)

SAN JOSE, California (AP) -- A growing number of federal and state legislators are expressing doubts about the integrity of the ATM-like electronic voting machines that at least 50 million Americans will use to cast their ballots in November.

Computer scientists have long criticized the so-called touchscreen machines as not being much more reliable than home computers, which can crash, malfunction and fall prey to hackers and viruses.

Now, a series of failures in primaries across the nation has shaken confidence in the technology installed at thousands of precincts. Despite reassurances from the machines' makers, at least 20 states have introduced legislation requiring a paper record of every vote cast.

On Thursday, a key California panel unanimously recommended banning a popular Diebold Inc. paperless touchscreen model -- a move that could force North Canton, Ohio-based Diebold and other manufacturers to overhaul their business practices nationwide. Secretary of State Kevin Shelley, who said Diebold glitches "jeopardized the outcome" of the March 2 primary, has until April 30 to decide whether to decertify Diebold and possibly other touchscreen terminals in California.

The head of a newly created federal agency charged with overseeing electronic voting called Diebold's problems "deeply troubling." The bipartisan U.S. Election Assistance Commission, formed in January to develop technical standards for electronic voting, will conduct a May 5 public hearing in Washington, D.C.

"We wanted to jump into this issue in time to impact November's election," said agency director DeForest B. Soaries, Jr. "There are so many troubling issues that have emerged surrounding electronic voting and so much money has been spent since 2000 on converting to electronic voting systems that it requires our attention -- particularly because many states assume the computer is the solution."


This is good traction for the issue...CNN..nice.


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