The United States should make ballots verifiable—or go back to paper.

Article in The Atlantic: The Case for Standardized and Secure Voting Technology <read>

It’s time to fix the voting process.

American voting systems have improved in recent years, but they collectively remain a giant mess. Voting is controlled by states, and typically administered by counties and local governments. Voting laws differ depending on where you are. Voting machines vary, too; there’s no standard system for the nation.

Accountability is a crapshoot. In some jurisdictions, voters use machines that create electronic tallies with no “paper trail”—that is, no tangible evidence whatsoever that the voter’s choices were honored. A “recount” in such places means asking the machine whether it was right the first time.

We need to fix all of this. But state and local governments are perpetually cash-starved, and politicians refuse to spend the money that would be required to do it.

Among many other needed measures promoted by nonprofit and nonpartisan Verified Voting, Congress should require standardized voting systems around the nation. It should insist on rock-solid security, augmented by frequent audits of hardware and software. Recounts should be performed routinely and randomly to ensure that verified-voting systems work as designed. The paper ballot generated by the machine should be the official ballot.

What Congress should emphatically not do is allow or encourage online voting. The sorry state of cybersecurity in general makes clear how foolhardy it would be to go anywhere near widespread “Internet voting” in the foreseeable future…

As we have long said in Myth #9, paper alone is insufficient:  “Myth #9 – If there is ever a concern we can always count the paper.”


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