eVote

Just a quick and dirty screed tonight about “evoting.” By that I mean the diebold touchscreen receiptless system.

To get into the technical issues involved would be rather redundant and overall skirts the real issue with the horrendous security of these devices and this voting solution. That issue is the trust of the process, the verifiability of the result, and the freedom from question that it requires.

I’m going to walk out on a limb here and predict that we will see a major post-election crisis as literally hundreds of elections nationwide are brought into deep question and are found to be in an unresolvable state. Why?

Simple: when you can’t verify a vote, and the numbers are so close, you have a huge opportunity for major challenges. The courts get involved, and Tylenol stock goes through the roof. What we saw in 2000 was just a taste of what can happen. It got ugly fast, but luckily there was a built-in release valve. It was one race; yes, one of the most important, but the US Supreme Court was able to step in and for good or ill end the process as it stood.

This year we have a lot of races going on for all sorts of positions across the country. It’s a highly contentious year, with the balance of the US Legistlature in the balance not to mention a number of state and local elections as hotly contested. The turnout may be slightly higher than average, but even if it’s below average you can expect the races to be close all over. A close race means that every vote counts: the ones for A, B, and the ones that get thrown out, all are vital.

Throw into that mix the truth that these new voting machines are inherently insecure and leave no possibilty for verification of the results, and you have a Constitutional crisis that will serve to discredit the election of everything from City Librarian up to Governor and Senator. A big mess, a colossal waste of money, and a lot of people wondering how the hell things got so screwed up.

The bright side is that hopefully a lot of the races will have to be rerun due to irregularities and questionable/unverifiable results, and that the second time around people will think harder about who allowed the broken process to be used, and kick them out. Probably not, but at the least maybe we’ll have real elections.