Wednesday, March 19, 2008

"And a function that tracked changes to the machines was purposely turned off." 

Ohio investigates reported voting machine irregularities.

A candidate's name was grayed out on some ballots but not on others. Local authorities had turned off the automatic logging of software changes.

This may turn out to be a legitimate error of some kind, but it's a great illustration of one of the major problems with electronic voting machines. If someone wants to tamper with them, it may not be possible to track that person or even to tell that the tampering happened.

In a discussion about this on the nerd forum Slashdot, a user called TripMasterMonkey pointed out a story about negligent exposure of voter registration records in Pennsylvania. That was the result of an elementary programming error. The important lesson there is that the people running your elections department may not be the experts you would hope for.


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