E-voting Stateside

CNET News.com hosted an interesting discussion between various voices in the e-voting debate. It delves into some of the specifics of US electoral legislation but it's still surprising to read some academics claiming that:

  • e-voting systems are not systemically unauditable
  • examining e-banking is a useful way of exploring e-voting issues

No, no, no! While e-voting machines may survive to be examined if questions arise after an election, we cannot be sure that the code on the machine is that used during the election. Candidates have confidence in the results of 'traditional' elections because they can all watch the paper ballots being counted. This simply is not possible with an all-electronic election.

And as for e-banking, it isn't anything like e-voting because it doesn't have to be secure, private AND anonymous. It is the need for these three factors that makes e-voting uniquely challenging technically.

Also US-centric, but useful, is the Association for Computing Machinery's Member Opinion Poll on whether they should lobby for voter verifiability in e-voting. So far 93.9% of respondents somewhat or strongly agree with a physical record of ballots (a stunning 84.98% or 2,382 members strongly agree). This is important because not only does ACM rarely get involved in policy (though more than it used to) but because members have to authenticate themselves before voting.