Testing/Inspecting For Democracy Is Too Much Work

Why bother inspecting restaurants, bridges, trucks, and voting machines? It is just too difficult and costly.

While Connecticut is way behind in inspecting restaurants as we have been with bridges and trucks, we fit right into the trend evidenced by two national stories – the Election Assistance Commission finds its just too hard on vendors to insist that voting machines actually be certified – and in New York we find that half of the voting machines delivered by Sequoia do not work.

As summarized by John Gideon <read>

The Board of Advisors is advising [PDF, pg 7] the EAC, via resolution, that they need to speed-up the certification process for voting systems. They want the system to be what it was under the old, rubber-stamp system headed by the National Association of State Elections Directors (NASED). They want the same system of testing and certification that has resulted in our voting systems failing in many elections and not even being compliant with federal standards.

Incredibly, the Board’s recommendation to the EAC goes so far as to admit that a failed “common practice” of the past should, apparently, be re-instituted under the newer certification system. “The common practice since the introduction of electronic voting systems,” they wrote, “has been to make hardware and software upgrades based on issues found in the most recent election in sufficient time to improve the voting systems for the next general election.”

Douglas Kellner as quoted by Kim Zetter of Wired on Sequoia in NY <read>

Douglas Kellner, co-chair of the New York State Board of Elections, expressed frustration with the vendor, saying it appeared that Sequoia was using the state’s acceptance testing process to find problems with its machines in lieu of a sound quality-control process.

“There’s no way the vendor could be adequately reviewing the machines and having so many problems,” he told Threat Level. “What it tells us is that the vendor just throws this stuff over the transom and does not do any alpha- or beta-testing of their own before they apply for certification testing. Then they expect that we’ll identify technical glitches and then they’ll correct those glitches. But correction of those glitches is an extraordinarily time-consuming process. And its very disappointing that this equipment is not ready for prime time.”

But New York has nothing on the Nutmeg State where UConn tests reveal that less than half of our election officials faithfully follow pre-election testing procedures. As for the restaurants it seems Connecticut occasionally still inspects them, but nowhere near as often as required by our own laws.

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