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The debate over the security of touch-screen voting machines may seem esoteric, but in just six weeks, nearly one-third of U.S. voters will cast their ballots using the new technologies in this much-scrutinized presidential election. The New York Times offers a great overview of the issues, including a good critique of the validity of activists’ criticisms of the machines and their makers.

One major conclusion: whatever questions remain about the technology’s security and accuracy, it is too late to make any significant changes this year. Even more significantly, sorting out disputes in any precincts where the machines malfunction or where the margin of victory is thin could prove difficult because of the machine’s programming.

Regardless of the outcome in November, before the next use of the machines–and before more counties and states purchase them–Congress needs to sufficiently fund the National Institute for Standards and Technology to develop universal standards for these voting systems and help state and local governments ensure the security of the voting process.

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