Since the 2000 Presidential Election Scandal, millions of Americans are feeling less certain about having their vote count, and for good reason. Paul Krugman wrote about the perils of electronic voting earlier this year:
First of all, the technology has simply failed in several recent elections. In a special election in Broward County, Fla., 134 voters were disenfranchised because the electronic voting machines showed no votes, and there was no way to determine those voters' intent. (The election was decided by only 12 votes.) In Fairfax County, Va., electronic machines crashed repeatedly and balked at registering votes. In the 2002 primary, machines in several Florida districts reported no votes for governor.California Secretary of State Kevin Shelley has such strong concerns about electronic voting that he ordered a ban in 14 counties, which was recently upheld against protests.
And how many failures weren't caught? Internal e-mail from Diebold, the most prominent maker of electronic voting machines (though not those in the Florida and Virginia debacles), reveals that programmers were frantic over the system's unreliability. One reads, "I have been waiting for someone to give me an explanation as to why Precinct 216 gave Al Gore a minus 16022 when it was uploaded." Another reads, "For a demonstration I suggest you fake it."
Computer experts say that software at Diebold and other manufacturers is full of security flaws, which would easily allow an insider to rig an election. But the people at voting machine companies wouldn't do that, would they? Let's ask Jeffrey Dean, a programmer who was senior vice president of a voting machine company, Global Election Systems, before Diebold acquired it in 2002. Bev Harris, author of "Black Box Voting" (www.blackboxvoting.com), told The A.P. that Mr. Dean, before taking that job, spent time in a Washington correctional facility for stealing money and tampering with computer files.
US Representative Rush Holt's website reads:
ON ELECTION DAY 2004, HOW WILL YOU KNOW IF YOUR VOTE IS PROPERLY COUNTED?Representative Holt has introduced legislation to require all voting machines to produce a voter-verified paper trail.
ANSWER: YOU WON’T
On his website, US Rep. Dennis Kucinich quotes a study which showed Deibold voting software permit a person to:
- vote multiple times,
- view ballots already cast on a machine,
- modify party affiliation on ballots,
- cause votes to be miscounted,
- create, delete and modify votes on voting machine, and
- tamper with audit logs and election results.
- Partisan Conflicts of Interest
- Diebold Employee Manual Reveals Knowledge of Software Flaws
- Diebold Internal Memos Reveal Knowledge of Software Flaws
- Diebold has been using coercive legal claims to intimidate internet service providers and even universities to shut down websites with links to its memos and remove the memo content.
Those who've sold us on the idea of electronic voting would have us believe that these systems will serve our democracy better than our current methods.
If it's an act of faith to vote using a touchscreen voting machine, then the Republicans are non-believers while also selling the machines for profit. The party is telling Florida Republicans to vote using absentee ballots --
"The liberal DemocratsIf you live in a precinct that uses electronic voting machines, especially in a battleground state, you should do the same.
have already begun their
attacks and the new electronic
voting machines do not
have a paper ballot to verify
your vote in case of a recount.
Make sure your vote counts,
order your absentee ballot today."