Chad 2.0

Computer voting was supposed to revolutionize elections. But has it just updated old problems?

Facts matter: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter. Support our nonprofit reporting. Subscribe to our print magazine.


The lessons of Florida’s 2000 election debacle were painfully clear:
Butterfly ballots and punch cards are no way to run an election. Vowing
never again, Congress pledged nearly $4 billion to fund voting
modernization, and tech firms rushed computerized voting terminals to
market, promising modern convenience and digital accuracy.

But a closer look at electronic voting finds the new machines far from
fail-safe. Tech experts say voting-terminal technology lags years behind
the state of the art in both encryption and design. Not only are the
machines susceptible to the kinds of voting mishaps–undervotes,
misvotes–that produced Bush v. Gore, but they also may be vulnerable to
hackers bent on stealing an election.

Voting companies claim that scenarios involving serious fraud
are theoretical and nearly impossible to pull off: Few people have
access to the source code or the machines. But the call of “trust us,
we’re experts” took a blow this summer when the Cleveland Plain Dealer
outted Diebold chief executive Walden O’Dell as a major GOP operative. In
addition to hosting a $1,000-a-plate fundraiser at his Columbus, Ohio,
home, ODell sent out solicitations boasting that he’s “committed to
helping Ohio deliver its electoral votes to the president next year.”

Meanwhile, the appeals for greater oversight of computerized voting are
growing. “We’re very concerned about the software, about the security of
the ballots,” said Governor Perdue of Georgias voting terminals. “If they
turn out to be not reliable or can be tampered with, then
they’re–frankly–useless.”







THE END...

of our fiscal year is Thursday, June 30, and we have a much larger fundraising gap than we can easily manage with only days left to go.

Right now is no time to come up short: If you value the hard-hitting, democracy-protecting, justice-advancing journalism you get from Mother Jones, please help us keep charging as hard as we possibly can with a much-needed and much-appreciated donation today.

payment methods

THE END...

of our fiscal year is Thursday, June 30, and we have a much larger fundraising gap than we can easily manage with only days left to go.

Right now is no time to come up short: If you value the hard-hitting, democracy-protecting, justice-advancing journalism you get from Mother Jones, please help us keep charging as hard as we possibly can with a much-needed and much-appreciated donation today.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate