Peder D4

Discussion of politics and other odious things

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Trust in voting

Good column by Glenn Reynolds on the twin problems of fraud that worry voters. He discusses the vulnerability of computerized voter machines:
Computers are inherently insecure, and electronic voting machines are basically computers. As this report illustrates (complete with video), Princeton researchers were able to hack a Diebold voting machine in short order.
His suggestion is a return to paper ballots. The machines used here in Minnesota use an optical scanner and I've never heard of fraud allegations with them. The key is to have an easy to understand system of voting and a high degree of certainty that your vote is recorded correctly. Our current system seems to pass both of those tests.
He also talks about the other problem:
But moving beyond the hardware, we also need to look at voting procedures. Machine fraud, after all, is only one form of voting fraud. That means we need to work harder at ensuring that voters are actually eligible to vote, and that they don't vote more than once. This means stricter identification processes at polling places, cleaner voter-registration lists, and techniques of the sort used in other countries (finger-inking, for example) to ensure that people don't cast multiple votes.
This really is an ignored problem. Reynolds notes that the ID burden is higher to buy alcohol than it is to vote. What's worse, the burden to rent a DVD is higher too. We simply aren't serious enough about this. And frankly, both sides of that equation need to be fixed.


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