Essay on Electronic Voting

573 Words 3 Pages
Electronic Voting

Gunmen on the grassy knoll, AIDS, landing on the moon, chemtrails, UFO’s, CIA mind control and Waco are some of the well-known conspiracies. But what about George W. Bush’s re-election? This cynicism goes beyond political rhetoric and focuses on our ability to participate in a representative democracy. Developed by the ancient Greeks, one of the first voting systems involved dropping bronze disks into barrels. As technology progressed, the advancements in voting systems surrendered an unacceptable system that lacks accuracy despite public outcry for a paper-verified trail.

A voting system has four characteristics: accuracy, anonymity, scalability, and speed. Current electronic voting machines claim to
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Definitely not perfection, but within acceptable limits if the story ends there. Nevertheless, it does not; the results plagued counties all over, especially the deciding state of Ohio. John Kerry demanded a recount in Ohio, but refused to emulate the “hanging-chad” crises of 2000.

A recount of votes in Maryland could only consist of re-reading the smartcards, even if the DRE recorded the vote improperly; there is no way to verify their accuracy. Avi Rubin (2004), a Computer Science Professor at Johns Hopkins University, notes on his weblog how he had many chances to manipulate the outcome at his voting poll. At one point, he held the entire precinct’s smartcards allowing him to swap them or damage them. This assumes the DRE recorded the votes properly, which cannot be determined without Diebold disclosing source code for the machines. After other groups across Maryland mirrored Avi’s findings, hundreds of people testified in front of the Maryland General Assembly demanding a vote-verified paper trail. At each hearing, security experts testified about security concerns and the need for open source software. This objection to current standards sparked legislation requiring a voter-verified paper trail in the last two legislative sessions. In spite of the bill passing the house and the senate without
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