Sunday, 19 September 2004

Voting technology in 2004

Sunday’s New York Times has an interesting and balanced look at electronic voting in the November 2004 election, including a really cool zoomable map that shows what voting system is used in each county in the Lower 48. Particularly noteworthy is this passage on paper trails:

While it is too late in the game to make it possible to produce a paper record for each vote on every machine already deployed, Mr. Miller said that vendors would be willing to include that feature in the future if the market demanded it. Most of the major vendors have models that can supply a printed record, but in most cases, Mr. Miller said, election officials have not required it.

Paper receipts are not automatically required because no such universal guideline has ever existed. Mechanical lever machines, for instance, which have been in widespread use since the 1930’s – and will still be used by millions of voters this year – have never produced a paper record of each vote. And states have traditionally established their own definitions of what constitutes a ballot. [emphasis added]

Hinds County (home of Jackson) is apparently using WINvote touchscreens this fall. All I can say is that I do hope they’re using something a bit more secure than 64-bit WEP.