Ramblings & ephemera

Matching voters with their votes, thanks to voting machines

From Declan McCullagh’s “E-voting predicament: Not-so-secret ballots” (CNET News: 20 August 2007):

Two Ohio activists have discovered that e-voting machines made by Election Systems and Software and used across the country produce time-stamped paper trails that permit the reconstruction of an election’s results — including allowing voter names to be matched to their actual votes.

Ohio law permits anyone to walk into a county election office and obtain two crucial documents: a list of voters in the order they voted, and a time-stamped list of the actual votes. “We simply take the two pieces of paper together, merge them, and then we have which voter voted and in which way,” said James Moyer, a longtime privacy activist and poll worker who lives in Columbus, Ohio.
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Once the two documents are merged, it’s easy enough to say that the first voter who signed in is very likely going to be responsible for the first vote cast, and so on.

Other suppliers of electronic voting machines say they do not include time stamps in their products that provide voter-verified paper audit trails. Sequoia Voting Systems and Hart Intercivic both said they don’t. A spokesman for Diebold Election Systems (now Premier Election Solutions), said they don’t for security and privacy reasons…

David Wagner, a professor of computer science at the University of California, Berkeley, said electronic storage of votes in the order that voters cast them is a recurring problem with e-voting machines.

“This summer I learned that Diebold’s AV-TSX touchscreen voting machine stores a time stamp showing the time which each vote was cast–down to the millisecond–along with the electronic record of that vote,” Wagner said in an e-mail message. “In particular, we discovered this as part of the California top-to-bottom review and reported it in our public report on the Diebold voting system. However, I had no idea that this kind of information was available to the public as a public record.”

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