Mike Collins. writes on the Zogby Poll on Electronic Voting, commissioned by election law attorney Paul Lehto which overwhelmingly shows voter awareness of flaws in electronic voting as well as opposition to secret software and near universal support for citizens being able to observe vote counting.
The poll makes very clear that, despite warnings that claims of a stolen election in ’04 would cause voter tuneout to the problem, voters are well aware of the issue and want it corrected. The issue for voters is clearly where it needs to be: getting the ’06 vote accurate.
The short version of the results:
How aware are you that there have been reports of flaws in electronic voting or computerized voting machines that make it possible to tamper with one machine in such a way as to change the results of an entire election?
Very aware 28.5%
Somewhat aware 31.8
Somewhat unaware 14.9
Very unaware 22.8
Not sure 1.9
In some states, members of the public have the right to view the counting of votes and verify how that process is working. In other states, citizens are in effect barred from viewing vote counting even if they would like to view the process. Which of the following two statements are you more likely to agree with – A or B?
Statement A: Citizens have the right to view and obtain
information about how election officials count votes. 91.8%
Statement B: Citizens do not have the right to view and
obtain information about how elections officials count votes. 5.9
Neither/Not sure 2.3
With computerized electronic voting machines, votes are counted using proprietary or confidential software from corporate vendors that is not disclosed to citizens. Do you agree or disagree that it is acceptable for votes to be counted in secret without any outside observers from the public?
Not sure 6.5
Although I would personally quibble with the wording of the last question, I would expect most respondents understood the link to the opening comment and answered accordingly.
Another important voice in the election protection battle is Aviel Rubin PhD author of Brave New Ballot, The Battle to Safeguard Democracy in the Age of Electronic Voting (Sept, 5). Rubin is a Professor of computer science at Johns Hopkins University who teaches courses in computer security and privacy.
Interviewed on CNN last night by Kitty Pilgram for “Lou Dobbs Tonight”, Rubin made some critical points:
…everybody who has worked in the software field knows that software’s very complex and very difficult to get right. So when you’re building something like a voting machine, in the case, for example, of the Diebold voting machine, which my research team examined, it was 50,000 lines of C++ code. There’s a lot of room for error there. And it’s really crucial that that software be designed using formal software engineering processes.
And the software that we looked at from the Diebold voting machine was really poorly written. We found all kinds of security errors that I outline in the book and the use of cryptography for example, that’s used to encrypt information on the machine was using outdated and broken ciphers.
The full transcript is on Bradblog as well as the CNN video, which Rubin also has on his site. In the light of all the issues with the media covering the titillating versus important subjects, we need to be sure this gets covered so more people are aware and act. Action is essentially local. Voting machines are generally selected at the city or county level. That means you are more likely to reach the real people who are responsible.