Dan Gillmor on eVoting


Dan Gillmor is the latest installment in Doug Kayes IT Conversations. If you haven't been over there to listen to some of the interviews he's done, you really ought to. Now he's got transcripts as well, which makes referring to the conversations from a blog a little more meaningful. What caught my eye about Dan's interview, was his take on eVoting:

The electronic voting machines, the touch-screen voting machines, are a huge scandal and a really shocking scandal because the lack of interest in this until recently in the major media in the press is unbelievable to me. And the fact that people in government have been just sort of fecklessly running along with this is outrageous. I don't know if any elections using these machines have been stolen. I don't know. The problem is we can't know. It's impossible to know. They leave no record that can be verified in any way that anyone should trust. There is a fundamental problem. It's as if you went to an ATM and put your card in and got some money out and the bank says, "Sorry, no you're not getting a receipt. You just have to trust us that we marked correctly in your account the amount you withdrew." Not for a minute would the public put up with that. It would be ridiculous.
From Dan Gillmor: 2004 Outlook (IT Conversation)
Referenced Mon Jan 19 2004 21:51:22 GMT-0700

Dan continues (his comments on eVoting are at the end of the interview) by noting that as soon as California said a paper trail was required, most of the vendors who'd been saying "impossible" suddenly said "OK."

I'll be moderating the eVoting panel at the O'Reilly DIgital Democracy Teach-In on February 9th in San Diego. The panelists will be David Jefferson from Lawrence Livermore, Dave Hart from Hart InterCivic (not yet confirmed) and Gary Chapman from the University of Texas. One of the things I was after in inviting these panelists was a good discussion of the pros and cons, the dangers and the motivations. The more I've dug into the issue, the more I've come to understand that its not as cut a dried as one might think.