Thursday, December 20, 2007


...and now Colorado

First California, then Ohio... and now Colorado:

Thousands of Colorado’s electronic voting machines do not work properly and have been decertified, according to a review by the Colorado secretary of state that has left elections officials scrambling to find viable machines in time for local and Congressional primary elections in August and the presidential election in November.


The review, by electronic voting systems experts, outside auditors and cyber-security specialists, found multiple problems with machines that were made by Sequoia Voting Systems, Hart InterCivic and Election Systems & Software and that are used in 52 of Colorado’s 64 counties, including Denver.

Two types of Sequoia electronic machines could not accurately trace security breaches, the review found. Hart’s optical scan machines did not count votes accurately, and the optical scan and electronic machines made by Election Systems & Software suffered programming errors and could be disabled by voters.

And, of course, once again, “All three companies defended their machines, saying they had been used successfully throughout the country.”


Addressing comments from Tuesday’s post:

Paul said:

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. The problem you have is the size and complexity of your ballot. If the only thing on your ballot was which candidate to vote for for president, computerized voting machines would not be necessary, and you would get a higher voter turnout. The election of the most powerful man in the entire world is too important to be jeopardized by the need to elect a dog catcher in Aurora, Illinois, or decide on library funding in Waldport, Oregon. Those issues should be decided in other state and municipal elections at different times.
Yep, I agree with you. The trouble is that that would take either a constitutional amendment or an unprecedented level of cooperation among the states.

We should have a national election for president, but we don’t. We have 54 little elections that all happen on the same day. And each of those little elections, in each state, the District of Columbia, and the territories, has its own local stuff in it, as well as its own rules — the rules differ in each as to who can be on the ballot, how the voting is done, what happens during recounts, and so on.

It’s insane, but it’s the United States. Maybe you should move to Canada.

Um, no, wait....

Andy said:

Sarcasm aside, developing new electronic solutions seem bound for disaster, even using an open process. It’s hard to get software right, much less reliable and secure. My current favorite solution is a paper-based mechanism using a simple format. Something odd? Just count them again.
Paper is fine as far as it goes, and we’ll certainly see this stuff going on for some time yet. Maybe it’ll be ten years, maybe twenty. Maybe even fifty. But voting with computers is inevitable; we will move the technology forward and go there. It’s what we do. Here: go buy a car any more that doesn’t have a computer running it. We even have them in our coffee pots and toasters.

So we might as well start now in designing it right, because, yes, it’s not going to come easily.

And moving to Canada won’t help on this one.

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