Hello,

We noticed you're browsing in private or incognito mode.

To continue reading this article, please exit incognito mode or log in.

Not an Insider? Subscribe now for unlimited access to online articles.

Simson Garfinkel

A View from Simson Garfinkel

Votes Wiped Out

CNN reports that a computer crashes in May and November 2003 erased votes from Miami-Dade County’s first widespread use of touchscreen voting machines in the November 2002 gubernatorial primary between Democratic candidates Janet Reno and Bill McBride.The crash didn’t affect…

  • July 28, 2004

CNN reports that a computer crashes in May and November 2003 erased votes from Miami-Dade County’s first widespread use of touchscreen voting machines in the November 2002 gubernatorial primary between Democratic candidates Janet Reno and Bill McBride.

The crash didn’t affect the election-day results; it just erased data that could be used in an after-the-fact audit. Florida, unlike many other states, treats ballots as public records and preserves them. This was one of the things that allowed media outlets to recount the ballots from the Year 2000 elections.

Many organizations are arguing that the new touch-screen voting machines require a paper trail to prevent this sort of thing from happening. I don’t believe this–not because a paper trail wouldn’t be useful, but because there is no proof that a paper trail works either, and there is no proof that you can’t use formal methods and other techniques to properly record computerized votes.

Want more award-winning journalism? Subscribe to Insider Plus.
  • Insider Plus {! insider.prices.plus !}*

    {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

    Everything included in Insider Basic, plus the digital magazine, extensive archive, ad-free web experience, and discounts to partner offerings and MIT Technology Review events.

    See details+

    Print + Digital Magazine (6 bi-monthly issues)

    Unlimited online access including all articles, multimedia, and more

    The Download newsletter with top tech stories delivered daily to your inbox

    Technology Review PDF magazine archive, including articles, images, and covers dating back to 1899

    10% Discount to MIT Technology Review events and MIT Press

    Ad-free website experience

/3
You've read of three free articles this month. for unlimited online access. You've read of three free articles this month. for unlimited online access. This is your last free article this month. for unlimited online access. You've read all your free articles this month. for unlimited online access. You've read of three free articles this month. for more, or for unlimited online access. for two more free articles, or for unlimited online access.