Of Hand Counts and Voting Machines

At this point, we cannot design a [fully verifiable electronic election system], nor can anyone else. Computer systems are so complicated, that there is no single person that understands everything about how they work.

David Dill

After taking a look at the 2004 election in Ohio and America’s history of dirty elections, we’re thinking of a couple more shows about elections in America. Up first: the way we mark and count our ballots.

Are digital voting machines the way to go? Digital Voting Machines are twenty years old now; why have they become so much more prevalent in the last two election cycles? Are they safer if they use an open software standard? Does a physical record ensure an accurate re-count? The national media has been focusing on national elections; do voting practices have an impact on local elections? Do we need better Federal guidelines on voting practices?

Andrew Gumbel

U.S. correspondent, Independent

Author, Steal This Vote

David Dill

Professor of Computer Science, Stanford University

Michael Shamos

Professor of Computer Science and Co-Director of the Insitute for eCommerce, Carnegie Mellon University

Gregory Luke

Associate, Strumwasser & Woocher LLP

Extra Credit Reading

Andrew Gumbel, The Coming Ballot Meltdown, The Nation, June 28, 2006.

Zachary Goldfarb, A Single Person Could Swing an Election, The Washington Post, June 28, 2006.

Dan Tokaji, Brennan Center Report on Voting Technology, Equal Vote Blog, June 27, 2006.

Steven Kreytak, Electronic voting lawsuit may be decided soon, Austin American Statesman, July 7, 2006.

Thad Van Ry, I voted electronically!, Woods Cross Citizen, June 27, 2006.

Tim Grieve, One hacker, a little wi-fi, … and an election victory can be yours, War Room, Salon, June 28, 2006.

Kelly Alvarez Mace, A Riverside County voting experience, Election Updates, November 5, 2005.

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