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[liberationtech] REMINDER: TOMORROW Liberation Technologies Meeting AUGUST 5, 12noon Encina Hall E-008
gelman at stanford.edu
Mon Aug 4 10:29:13 PDT 2008
In light of David's talk tomorrow, you may be interested in this:
(David is the founder of the Verified Voting Foundation (mentioned
below) and VerifiedVoting.org and is on the board of those
A Bad Electronic Voting Bill
August 3, 2008
Congress has stood idly by while states have done the hard work of
trying to make electronic voting more reliable. Now the Senate is
taking up a dangerous bill introduced by Senators Dianne Feinstein,
Democrat of California, and Robert Bennett, Republican of Utah, that
would make things worse in the name of reform. If Congress will not
pass a strong bill, it should apply the medical maxim: first, do no
Voters cannot trust the totals reported by electronic voting
machines; they are too prone to glitches and too easy to hack. In the
last few years, concerned citizens have persuaded states to pass
bills requiring electronic voting machines to use paper ballots or
produce voter-verifiable paper records of every vote. More than half
of the states now have such laws.
There is still a need for a federal law, so voting is reliable in
every state. A good law would require that every vote in a federal
election produce a voter-verifiable paper record, and it would
mandate that the paper records be the official ballots. It would
impose careful standards for how these paper ballots must be
"audited," to verify that the tallies on the electronic machines are
The Feinstein-Bennett bill does none of these. It would permit states
to verify electronic voting machines' results using electronic
records rather than paper. Verifying by electronic records - having
one piece of software attest that another piece of software is honest
- is not verifying at all. The bill is also vague about rules for
audits, leaving considerable room for mischief. The timeline also is
unacceptable. States might be able to use unreliable machines through
2014 or longer.
This bill goes out of its way to placate voting machine manufacturers
and local election officials, two groups that have consistently been
on the wrong side of electronic voting integrity. Reform groups like
Verified Voting, which have done critical work in the states, say
they were not allowed to provide input.
The bill would do some good things, including reducing the conflicts
of interest that plague the process for certifying voting machines.
But the damage it would do is much greater.
Ms. Feinstein introduced a better bill last year, which would have
required a paper record of every vote, but she could not get enough
support to pass it. If Congress cannot pass a good bill, it should
let the states continue to do the hard work - and be prepared to
explain to voters why it cannot muster the will to protect the
integrity of American elections.
At 10:05 AM -0700 8/4/08, Joshua Cohen wrote:
>I am very much looking forward to seeing people tomorrow.
>p.s. if you notice that some names of interested people are not on
>the distribution list, please forward the message.
>On Aug 4, 2008, at 9:51 AM, Adam Tolnay wrote:
>>Dear Liberation Technologies Working Group,
>>Our second talk in the series to be held by:
>>Prof. David Dill of the Computer Science department on August 5,
>>2008 at 12:00noon in Encina Hall E-008. Lunch will be provided.
>>Further information on Prof. Dill's talk is below.
>>Kindly RSVP to Laura Cosovanu: lauracos at stanford.edu to let us know
>>if you will be able to attend Prof. Dill's presentation. Please do
>>not hesitate to ask any questions.
>>Title: "Electronic voting -- a potentially unliberating technology"
>>Abstract: High-tech voting seems very attractive to voters who are
>>used to using computers for work, e-commerce, electronic banking,
>>etc. But voting is fundamentally different from other transaction
>>because of ballot secrecy, which makes trustworthy electronic
>>voting a very challenging technology problem.
>>Brief Bio: David Dill has been a Professor of Computer Science at
>>Stanford University since 1987, after receiving his PhD in Computer
>>Science from Carnegie Mellon University. He is a co-Principle
>>Investigator on the NSF-funded ACCURATE voting technology project.
>>Prof. Dill has been working actively on policy issues in voting
>>technology since 2003. He is the author of the "Resolution on
>>Electronic Voting", which calls for a voter-verifiable audit trail
>>on all voting equipment, and which has been endorsed by thousands
>>of people, including many of the top computer scientists in the
>>U.S. He served on the California Secretary of State's Ad Hoc Task
>>Force on Touch-Screen Voting in 2003, and has testified on
>>electronic voting before the U.S. Senate, the U.S. Election
>>Assistance Commission, and the Commission on Federal Election
>>Reform, co-chaired by Jimmy Carter and James Baker III. He is the
>>founder of the Verified Voting Foundation and VerifiedVoting.org
>>and is on the board of those organizations. In 2004, he received
>>the Electronic Frontier Foundation's "Pioneer Award" for "for
>>spearheading and nurturing the popular movement for integrity and
>>transparency in modern elections."
>>(For other biographical information, see: http://verify.stanford.edu/dill)
Center for Internet and Society
Lecturer in Law
Stanford Law School
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