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Is e-voting as safe as e-banking?

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People who say that electronic voting is as safe or safer than banking are missing two key points.

First, in every banking transaction, both sides get to audit the results: the bank controls the electronic information, and the customer can check the bank's monthly statement against her own records. In e-voting, the County, and often the machine vendor, control the electronic information, and the customer (voters, watchdog organizations, candidates) cannot check the end result -- the vote tally -- against anything at all.

Second, banks operate in the free market. If you don't trust your bank, you can go to the competition. Elections, on the other hand, are by their nature run by monopolies. So while election officials have every incentive to make their elections run smoothly, the only outside incentives to make the process transparent and accountable come from watchdog organizations (such as VotePA) and active citizens.

As a Ph.D. mathematician with advanced training in computer science, I know that democracy can be accountable only if each citizen marks her intent on a record that can be preserved without the interference of technology, and only if the votes are counted in a way that every citizen may see and understand.


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Stephanie Frank Singer is a mathematician, an author and an entrepreneur. She is Managing Partner of Campaign Scientific LLC.

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I am very disturbed by people's complacency to... by Peter Dearman on Friday, Apr 25, 2008 at 1:02:31 PM
Electronic Voting Systems Don’t Have to be A... by Leon on Friday, Apr 25, 2008 at 2:00:29 PM
Your article, Ms. Singer, is perfectly put.&n... by Phillip Michaels on Friday, Apr 25, 2008 at 2:44:39 PM
We need more prosecution - See Jim March's wor... by Brent Turner on Friday, Apr 25, 2008 at 7:43:38 PM
Computers are notoriously easy to hack into. ... by rhalfhill on Friday, Apr 25, 2008 at 4:28:59 PM
I believe most hacking, unless someone is able to ... by Leon on Saturday, Apr 26, 2008 at 2:20:22 PM
Great discussion-  Naturally, I think all par... by Brent Turner on Friday, Apr 25, 2008 at 6:25:46 PM