US panel endorses fraudulent elections


Richard Moore

Original source URL:

    Extra Checks on Voting Machines Rejected
    The Associated Press
    Monday 04 December 2006

Gaithersburg, Md. - A federal advisory panel on Monday rejected a recommendation
that states use only voting machines that produced results that could be 
independently verified.

The panel drafting voting guidelines for the U.S. Election Assistance Commission
voted 6-6 not to adopt a proposal that would have required electronic machines 
used by millions of voters to produce a paper record or other independent means 
of checking election results. Eight votes were needed to pass it.

The failed resolution, proposed by Ronald Rivest, a Massachusetts Institute of 
Technology computer scientist and panel member, closely mirrored a report 
released last week warning that paperless electronic voting machines are 
vulnerable to errors and fraud and cannot be made secure.

Some panel members who voted against the proposal said they support paper 
records but don't think the risk of widespread voting machine meltdowns is great
enough to rush the requirement into place and overwhelm state election boards.

"They should be longer-range goals," said Britain Williams of the National 
Association of Election Directors. "You are talking about basically a 
reinstallation of the entire voting system hardware."

Congress created the panel after vote-counting problems in the 2000 presidential
election to advise the Election Assistance Commission. Monday's meeting was held
at the National Institute of Standards and Technology, which is advising the 
panel on voting technology. NIST staffers wrote last week's report on the 
potential voting problems.

Some panel members worried that the systems with audit trails could present 
problems of their own, including printer errors. Others said it was unclear 
whether paper records could be used by voters who are blind or have other 

But Rivest warned his colleagues that software errors in the paperless machines 
could go undetected without a way of verifying the voting results.

That could lead to a scenario where you have "got an election result that is 
wrong and you have no evidence to show that it's wrong," he said.

Verifiable paper records are already used by many states - 27 mandate them while
another 18 don't require them but use them in all or some jurisdictions. Only 
five - Delaware, Georgia, Louisiana, Maryland and South Carolina - use machines 
without a paper record. More than half of all voters used machines with paper 
records during the 2006 elections.

The paperless voting machines are essentially laptop computers that allow voters
to cast their ballots by touching a screen, and then tally the results. They are
widely used across the country.

Escaping the Matrix website
cyberjournal website  
subscribe cyberjournal list     mailto:•••@••.•••
Posting archives      
  cyberjournal forum  
  Achieving real democracy
  for readers of ETM  
  Community Empowerment
  Blogger made easy