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Panel Rejects E-Voting Protections

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Posted on Dec 5, 2006
Diebold machine

A federal advisory panel has ruled against a proposal that would have required electronic voting machines to produce a verifiable paper ballot.  A report released last week by the National Institute of Standards and Technology that detailed the vulnerabilities of popular e-voting machines inspired the proposal, but was ultimately discarded.

Just because the Democrats won an election doesn’t mean these machines are suddenly secure.  On the contrary, the flaws in equipment made by Diebold and other companies have been well documented.

AP via Common Dreams:

A federal advisory panel on Monday rejected a recommendation that states use only voting machines that produced results that could be independently verified.

The panel drafting voting guidelines for the U.S. Election Assistance Commission voted 6-6 not to adopt a proposal that would have required electronic machines used by millions of voters to produce a paper record or other independent means of checking election results. Eight votes were needed to pass it.

The failed resolution, proposed by Ronald Rivest, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology computer scientist and panel member, closely mirrored a report released last week warning that paperless electronic voting machines are vulnerable to errors and fraud and cannot be made secure.

Some panel members who voted against the proposal said they support paper records but don’t think the risk of widespread voting machine meltdowns is great enough to rush the requirement into place and overwhelm state election boards.

“They should be longer-range goals,” said Britain Williams of the National Association of Election Directors. “You are talking about basically a reinstallation of the entire voting system hardware.”

Congress created the panel after vote-counting problems in the 2000 presidential election to advise the Election Assistance Commission. Monday’s meeting was held at the National Institute of Standards and Technology, which is advising the panel on voting technology. NIST staffers wrote last week’s report on the potential voting problems.


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By RS Janes, December 7, 2006 at 8:23 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

As has been pointed out before, you buy a bag of fries at McDonald’s and you get a paper receipt; any transaction at an ATM is accompanied by a verifiable paper record. Yet our voting rights are taken lightly by state and federal officials that deem it ‘too expensive’ or difficult to ‘reinstall voting systems hardware.’ 

They didn’t ask the question of why these machines were designed this way in the first place by the same companies, like Diebold, that provide equipment to McDonald’s and automated banking systems.

About all we can do is pressure the Dems to bring this up in Congress but, since they won in 2006, there’s no impetus for them to change things.

“Trust, but don’t verify,” seems to be the new national motto where voting is concerned.

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By Margaret Currey, December 6, 2006 at 12:48 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The south is still the same, the voting rights of some people are being denied, the sham is just different, the state I am talking about is Fla.  I women should have won the election instead it went to the Republicians, I find it ironic that the voting county was Sarasota, and that country is also Democratic, and only the counties in question would be Democratic, because the fix is in, I mean if this problem happened in Republician counties, than this would be a mistake of the machines, but it is not a mastike of the machines, the machines are rigged.  People died for voting rights, and the voting rights should be very important, but it is not important, because the people voting are not the powerful, they have no one lobbying in congress for them, the bottom line is they are not rich, therefore they are not important, those who have money would always want to control those without.  AARP you would think is for the senior citizens but they are also a sell out.

Margaret from Vancouver, Washington

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By bsbuster, December 6, 2006 at 10:45 am Link to this comment
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By Lance, December 6, 2006 at 6:22 am Link to this comment
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Dear Mr. Williams,

Ever heard of phased deployment?  And how about ruling that no NEW machines can be deployed unless they conform to regulations that ensure an open, honest, verifiable election?

God help us, we’re still perilously close to becoming a banana republic.

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By Eyeball Kid, December 5, 2006 at 9:04 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

In other words, let’s keep the door wide open for rigged elections.

What kind of crap is that? The state election boards would be overwhelmed? Our voting system is being bankrupt, and these idiots are worrying about the election boards being overwhelmed. It didn’t take a long time for the 2000 election to be swindled, did it? So what’s wrong with pressuring the election boards to get in line and ensure truthful elections in two years’ time? 22 months is plenty of time.

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