Electronic voting criticised for error

Electronic voting includes the risk of fraud or computer computer malfunction that could cause voters to be sceptical of the results.

 

Eugene H. Spafford, executive director of the University of Purdue's Center for Education and Research in Information Assurance and Security, claims that there are potential difficulties with tampering of systems.

 

He said: “Those of us who work in technology, particularly in the areas of security and liability, are very concerned about elections. Our concern is that these electronic systems could be tampered with or, more likely, have problems with the software, and the results can't be audited or recounted if there is a question. If that were to happen, we can't have a do-over. The elections are already done. For a close election, this throws things into considerable doubt, possibly into the courts to decide the outcome.”

 

However Spafford claimed that there were solutions, and that steps can be taken to correct the process. He said: “We can do better. We have technology that produces a paper version of the vote in addition to the electronic version.”

 

He suggests a precinct-based optical scan system - a setup in which voters either vote on a computer system that prints a ballot or manually fills out a ballot that goes through a scanner - to ensure accurate vote counts. He says these steps could be taken without enormous cost and, in some cases, would be cheaper than methods in place.

 

He said: “This allows for quick counting, and it doesn't have the error of human counting. At the same time, we have paper ballots as a backup and verification in case the counts come out very odd in some respect or in case there is some question.”

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