Tuesday, November 04, 2008

What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

An article came out today in PCWorld regarding the progress of E-voting technology since the 2000 U.S. presidential election, although it has taken a rather zig-zagged path. After Congress passed the 2002 Help America Vote Act (HAVA), counties spent billions of dollars upgrading to new electronic voting machines, many of which were dumped when it was determined that they were either unusable or untrustworthy.

Machine malfunctions, touch-screen calibration errors, training problems with unskilled poll workers or human error on the part of the voter all impact on an election's outcome. All of the above notwithstanding, University of California computer science professor David Wagner states that bad design choices could be ferreted out if the federal government included user-interface testing as part of the certification process.

Proposed next-generation voting standards would require this type of testing, but it is not clear that these standards will be adopted, Wagner said. The Berkeley professor also said he will be watching these voter registration databases closely today.
"I don't know what to expect," he said. "Everything could go smoothly, or we could have a substantial fraction of voters who show up on Election Day, think they're registered and are told that there is some problem with their registration."

See article today in PCWorld.