The arguments for and against BMDs go on, amidst expensive problems in PA

From Bloomberg  Expensive, Glitchy Voting Machines Expose 2020 Hacking Risks <read>

Paper ballots may be safer and cheaper, but local officials swoon at digital equipment…

Her experience Nov. 5 was no isolated glitch. Over the course of the day, the new election machinery, bought over the objections of cybersecurity experts, continued to malfunction. Built by Election Systems & Software, the ExpressVote XL was designed to marry touchscreen technology with a paper-trail for post-election audits. Instead, it created such chaos that poll workers had to crack open the machines, remove the ballot records and use scanners summoned from across state lines to conduct a recount that lasted until 5 a.m.

In one case, it turned out a candidate that the XL showed getting just 15 votes had won by about 1,000. Neither Northampton nor ES&S know what went wrong…

But now, the machinery that was supposed to be the solution has spawned a whole new controversy, this time with national security at stake—the prospect of foreign states disrupting American elections…

Yet many state and local jurisdictions, like Northampton County, are buying a new generation of computerized voting machines ahead of the 2020 presidential election that security experts say are less secure and cost more—about $24 per voter, compared with $12 per voter in jurisdictions using a mix of the two systems, according to the University of Pittsburgh, which analyzed costs in Pennsylvania…

Cybersecurity experts are baffled by local election officials choosing the computerized voting machines. “It’s a mystery to me,” said Rich DeMillo, a Georgia Tech computer science professor and former Hewlett-Packard chief technology officer. “Does someone have 8 x 10 glossies? No one has been able to figure out the behavior of elections officials. It’s like they all drink the same Kool-Aid.”

The animus is mutual. At conferences, election administrators swap complaints about cyber experts treating them like idiots, said Dana DeBeauvoir, head of elections in Travis County, Texas, whose office purchased a computerized system DeMillo deplores. Hand-marked ballots are “a supremely horrible idea” cooked up by people in Washington “who have never had to really conduct an election,” she said.

We have long agreed with all those calling for Voter Marked Paper Ballots. Paying double or more for machines that are risky and lead to long lines can most easily be explained by the extensive lobbying of election officials and legislative bodies.

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