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Emailed to list on: September 2, 2003

Electronic election fraud - problem and solution

Hi Everyone,

I just read one of the best explanations about the dangers of electronic election fraud and a simple solution. Following is the link to the full article and 2 excerpts (snips). A must read for those that care about having their vote count.


[begin exerpt]
The problem with the Omnibus bill, according to Rebecca Mercuri, a computer science professor at Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania and one of the most vocal opponents of paperless balloting, is that it leaves no paper trail, making it ripe for manipulation.

"Any programmer can write code that displays one thing on a screen, records something else, and prints yet another result,² Mercuri told a reporter for CommonDreams.org. ³There is no known way to ensure that this is not happening inside of a voting system. No electronic voting system has been certified to even the lowest level of the U.S. government or international computer security standards..." The Federal Election Commission provides only voluntary standards, and even those don't ensure election "integrity," she says.
[end exerpt]

[begin exerpt]
in order for an electronic voting system to be foolproof, five components must be present - a voter, a ballot, a computerized voting machine, a printer, and an optical scanner - and three basic steps must be taken.

"First, the voting machine registers a voter's selection both electronically and on a paper ballot. Second, the machine then displays the paper ballot behind clear glass or plastic so that the voter can review their selection, but not take the ballot home by mistake. If the voter's selection doesn't agree with the ballot or the voter makes a mistake, the voter can call a poll worker to void the ballot, and then re-vote. And third, the paper ballot is optically scanned (most likely at the county administration building), providing a second electronic tally. If anything goes wrong with either the voting machines or the optical scanner, the paper ballots can be hand-counted as a last resort or as part of an audit. And voila! We have a fully auditable voting system with checks and balances, review and redundancy.²
[end exerpt]

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