Computerized Voting Machines: A View from the Trenches
As a result of Florida 2000, some Americans concluded that paper ballots simply couldn’t be counted, even though businesses, banks, racetracks, lottery systems, and others count and deal with paper all the time. Instead, paperless computerized voting systems (Direct Recording Electronic or DREs) were touted as the solution to “the Florida problem”.
Election officials in the U.S. were told that DREs in the long run would be cheaper than alternative voting systems. They also were told that DREs had been extensively tested and that the certification process guaranteed that the machines were reliable and secure. No mention was made of the costs ballot design, of pre-election testing, and of secure storage of DREs; nothing was said about the threat of hidden malicious code; no mention was made of the inadequacy of the testing and certification processes, to say nothing of the difficulty of creating bug-free software.