New Legislation in an old Model
After I read these works on election fraud, I then read two election reform bills that have been introduced in Congress. They are scary and outrageous. H.R. 811 and S. 1487 would create new legal bases for the secrecy related to computerized voting systems, and further prevent citizen oversight of our elections. It appears that S. 1487 would even make the Election Assistance Commission exempt from FOIL requests.
Technology Can Serve Democracy
Technology can be useful in elections in the form of tactile, mechanical, robotic, or computerized devices to assist voters with disabilities, non-English languages, or illiteracy who want to make their voting selections without requiring another person to know for whom they are voting.
Technology can also help to secure our ballot boxes: surveillance cameras, heat and motion sensors for storage areas, and the many technologies used warehouses to protect and keep track of inventory.
There are many ways that twenty-first century technology can be useful in elections, but computers should not be used to record, cast, store, handle, and count the votes because this prevents the citizen participation and observation that can keep these procedures honest.
Computers are not secure. Computers cannot be secured.
People argue over whether computers are secure. "Yes they are!" "No they aren't!" The arguments are not very meaningful, because here's the fact--no large computer system is secure, and no computer system is secure from people who work with it.
Paper can be secure.
Is paper secure? Can it be? Banks, warehouses, and other businesses protect paper with minimum difficulty by the use of careful procedures, competent management, and surveillance cameras. But it needs to be said that nationwide, our election administration has an aggressive "can't do" attitude: "we can't protect paper," "we can't get people to volunteer to help with elections," "we can't audit computers to show that they are working properly because audits are too burdensome, time-consuming, and expensive, and also they are unnecessary because we trust the computers."
Election Reform in America-2007
America is at a crossroads. If we are to continue to be a democracy, we need to get rid of DREs now and use surveillance cameras to secure our ballot boxes for paper ballots.
But it takes more than good voting technology to make a democracy.
We citizens need to inform ourselves about our government via the alternative news media. Just on the subject of elections, most people know about the lost 18,000 votes in the Christine Jennings race in Florida's 13th Congressional District. But our major media has not covered the thousands of other documented failures of computerized voting machines, and the voters who were disenfranchised as a result. We can learn much from various web sites: www.VotersUnite.org , www.WheresThePaper.org, etc.
We citizens also need to remember what democracy means-government of the people. We need to show up as poll workers and observers. "Get out the vote" efforts may have a negative effect in the long run, because we citizens need to participate in more ways than just voting. Minimizing the responsibilities of citizenship to the mere act of voting trivializes both citizenship and voting, and may contribute to the attitude that voting doesn't count.