Wednesday, January 05, 2005

NYT: Verifiable voting rejected: Standards Committee (letter)

Dumb question: Why didn't the Times run a headline: Electronic Voting Committee rejects verifiable voting? --RB

New York Times Letters
January 5, 2005
Electronic Voting

To the Editor:

I serve on the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers P1583 working group that is drafting the electronic voting equipment standard. The managing director of the I.E.E.E. Standards Association says (letter, Dec. 31) that "the draft standard includes criteria for a voter-verified paper trail performance."

In fact, proposals for verifiable voting records have been rejected out of hand in this committee. As a public relations gesture, the standard includes an addendum that defines, but very specifically does not require, verifiable voting.

Current electronic voting machines cannot be proved trustworthy because they are unauditable. When totals on these machines differ from exit poll projections, we have no empirical way to determine which numbers are correct.

Concerns about voting technology are sometimes painted as sore-loser griping. But when equipment can be unauditably rigged, election results will be bought by organized criminals and terrorists, not just politicians.

Cem Kaner
Melbourne, Fla., Dec. 31, 2004
The writer is a professor of software engineering, Florida Institute of Technology.

Copyright 2005 The New York Times Company


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