More E-Voting Problems!

http://techdirt.com/articles/20080404/085851751.shtml

You know, the solution to all these electronic voting issues is simple; use Open Source software, so the code can be reviewed by anyone who wants to or understands computer languages. Personally, I will not use any encryption software that is not open source, because how do you know if the software has a “back door” if the source is closed? (You don’t, and you can’t know). The same is true with e-voting software. Unless this software is opened up for the world to review, it is worthless. It could be filled with discrepancies, either intentional or not. The only way to know what the program is actually doing, is the open it up for all to see.

Turns Out New Jersey E-Voting Problems Even Worse Than Originally Thought

from the care-to-explain dept

You may recall that last month, the state of New Jersey asked some top notch computer security researchers, including Ed Felten, to do an independent study of Sequoia’s e-voting machines. That’s because there were some worrisome discrepancies in the voting totals that the machines released. When Sequoia found out about this it threatened to sue, which seems fairly odd. If the company were confident in the quality of its e-voting machines, why wouldn’t it want well-respected security researchers to take a look? However, Sequoia’s legal threats worked, and the state of New Jersey nixed plans for that independent review. Sequoia also offered an explanation, claiming that it was all a minor bug, where the machine merely got mixed up about party affiliation — but the vote totals would match up in the end. Guess what? That turns out to not be true.

Ed Felten has received a bunch of “summary tapes” from the last election in New Jersey, and while many of them do have the vote totals matching up correctly at the end at least two of the summary tapes simply don’t add up, meaning that Sequoia’s explanation of what went wrong is incorrect. Given how often the company has denied or hidden errors in its machines, despite a ton of evidence, we shouldn’t be surprised that it was inaccurate in explaining away this latest problem as well. However, we should be outraged that the company refuses to allow third party researchers to investigate these machines. It’s a travesty that any government would use them when they’ve been shown to have so many problems and the company is unwilling to allow an independent investigation.

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