Saturday, January 05, 2008

Counting on the vote count

By Libby

While we're all distracted by the primary contests that finally got interesting with the unexpected wins in Iowa, it's useful to remember that we still have a major problem that remains unsolved for the general election. We don't have a reliable, verifiable vote. We know this will be a contentious race and the integrity of the tally is still in private hands, friendly to the GOP. The NYT addresses the issue in tomorrow's magazine.

“This is a crazy world,” complained Ion Sancho, the elections supervisor of Leon County in Florida. “The process is so under control by the vendor. The primary source of information comes only from the vendor, and the vendor has a conflict of interest in telling you the truth. The vendor isn’t going to tell me that his buggy software is why I can’t get the right time on my audit logs.”
The piece makes light of the possibility of hacking, and draws its concerns mainly around the inherent fallibility of computer programs but either way, it's a major problem that will take time to fix. Many states have banned the machines but they're still going to be counting about one-third of all the votes. It would be good if we could do something to cut that number down before November.