Electronic voting at November 20 meeting

The Coffee Party Austin meeting at the Howson Library on November 20 featured two talks on electronic voting. Ham Richards explained that the correct functioning of digital systems—including electronic voting stations—cannot be established by testing,  and that paperless electronic voting systems are therefore inevitably untrustworthy. Nevertheless, Ham showed, these untrustworthy devices can be combined with ordinary printers to make trustworthy systems. Also available is Ham’s more detailed white paper, “Trustworthy Elections Using Untrusted Equipment.

The second talk was given by Karen Renick and Vickie Karp of VoteRescue. They showed several examples of elections in which electronic voting systems appear to have malfunctioned, and showed a video of a Diebold machine being hacked by insertion of a bogus vote-total card:


VoteRescue’s view is that for the sake of transparency, ballots should be counted manually, in public, at the precinct, and tallies should be posted at the precinct before the ballots are taken away. They provide two videos of ballots being counted by hand in a New Hampshire election:

I’ll update this post with more VoteRescue material when Karen and Vickie provide it.

About Hamilton Richards

I retired in 2006 as a Senior Lecturer in Computer Sciences at The University of Texas at Austin. These days I volunteer technical support for Citizens' Climate Lobby (Austin chapter), Common Ground for Texans, (CG4Tx.org), Integrity Texas (IntegrityTexas.org), and several friends.
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