Thursday, April 01, 2004

Meanwhile, back at the touchscreen voting booth

If you listen real close, you can hear 'em typing in there ...

"By now we know that touchscreen voting machines are suspect. They can be tampered with by determined folks, potentially changing an election. And most of them appear to be incapable of supporting effective vote recounts, even if those recounts are mandated by law... ("We know that requirement was always in the Help America Vote Act (HAVA), but we talked you out of it, right?") and asking for more money -- lots more money -- to add printers to their touchscreen machines.


Jed Rothwell, fresh from a day working the polls as a voting clerk, writes, "Meg Smothers of the League of Women Voters recently said that Georgia has 28,000 voting machines, and it would cost $15 million to retrofit them with printers to produce receipts. Yet these machines already have printers. They produce a paper receipt at the end of the day showing the vote tallies... The printer and paper are located on the right side of the machine, under a locked metal cover. It would be a simple matter to fabricate a new metal equipment cover with an outlet above the printer, that would print a receipt for the voter. Based on the retail cost of similar metal computer equipment cases available in any computer store, this should cost approximately $30 per machine, not $500. The programming change would be trivial."

To Diebold, of course, no programming change is trivial. How could it be, since they forgot to offer up the services of the printer already inside the voting machines they build?

One receipt per machine is better than nothing. In theory it would allow authorities to find vote tallies that were changed after the receipt was printed (after the polls were closed). But that's if the receipt printer was even used. ... In California the printer output from each machine is supposed to be posted at the polling place for a week. Apparently such posting is the exception, not the norm. The receipt is supposed to be printed BEFORE results are sent electronically to a central counting system. This, too, seems to be rarely done."

...ugotta problem widdat?

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