A View from Brian Bergstein
Anticipating Voting Machine Failures in November
A new report sniffs out the states that are likeliest to have problems with their electronic voting machines.
Electronic voting machines don’t seem to have gotten as much media attention as they did before the presidential elections in 2004 and 2008, when researchers documented disturbing computer-security flaws and other kinds of failures in the machines (See “E-Voting’s Biggest Test”). But the issue remains. Recently an exhaustive report (summary here, full PDF report here) showed in detail which states are best situated to deal with voting machine breakdowns—because they have paper backups, for example—and which are not. The authors, who are from the Verified Voting Foundation, the Rutgers Law School Constitutional Litigation Clinic, and Common Cause, followed the methodology used in a similar report four years ago. In the new study, they argue:
“On November 6, 2012, it is highly likely that some voting systems will fail in counties across the country … [A]s the technology used for elections has become more complicated, the possibility of error has increased substantially.”