Monday, November 13, 2006

How's This for Irony: E-Voting Flaws Mar Race to Replace Katherine Harris

Katherine Harris, the scarily wacked-out former Florida Secretary of State who presided over the 2000's voting debacle, has been summarily ejected from political life as she left her House seat to be buried in a Senate landslide.

Now, in the race to fill her vacated seat, obvious irregularities in electronic voting are casting the results into question. The Democrat lost by 373 votes, but some 13% of ballots cast in Sarasota County recorded no choice at all for the House seat, while neighboring counties showed rates of 2 and 5 percent. Several voters reported that their selection for the House race went unrecorded and they had to redo their electronic ballot; the stats imply that if the missing votes had in fact been counted, the Dem would have won by 600 instead of losing by 373. But of course, there is no record of the votes themselves, which have vanished into the electronic ether.

Hellooo? As Bruce Schneier as well as many others have pointed out, it's not enough to count the vote accurately; the public (and especially the losers) have to be confident that the vote was counted accurately. People tend to throw revolutions otherwise.


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