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Last-minute questions about e-voting

ASK THIS | October 18, 2006

It's too late to throw out the machines and start all over, but here are some questions from Stanford Professor David Dill that you'll want to ask your election officials before Election Day.

By David Dill

Q. Have you seen the video of the Princeton computer scientists demonstrating how they hacked the Diebold touch-screen machine?

Q. How do you verify that the correct software is installed on your machines and that it has not been tampered with?

Q. How are the voting machines distributed to the precincts, how long are they at the polling places or pollworkers homes, and how are they secured during that time?

Q. Do you carefully check the electronic audit information in the machines?

If the machines are optical scan machines or have a paper trail:

Q. Do you conduct a so-called "manual audit" by hand counting the paper records and comparing them with the electronic records? What procedure will  you use to select the precincts you audit? Are witnesses from outside your office present at the selection? Are witnesses present during the auditing?

For background on electronic voting and voting security, see David Dill's NiemanWatchdog.org article from July 2005: The perils of paperless e-voting, and other NiemanWatchdog.org items on this important issue.

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