blogenlust
8.17.2004

Krugman on EVMs


Today, Paul Krugman writes about that of which we shall not speak, mainly, the likelihood of election fraud this November.
How might the election result be suspect? Well, to take only one of several possibilities, suppose that Florida - where recent polls give John Kerry the lead - once again swings the election to George Bush. Much of Florida's vote will be counted by electronic voting machines with no paper trails. Independent computer scientists who have examined some of these machines' programming code are appalled at the security flaws. So there will be reasonable doubts about whether Florida's votes were properly counted, and no paper ballots to recount. The public will have to take the result on faith. Yet the behavior of Gov. Jeb Bush's officials with regard to other election-related matters offers no justification for such faith. First there was the affair of the felon list. Florida law denies the vote to convicted felons. But in 2000 many innocent people, a great number of them black, couldn't vote because they were erroneously put on a list of felons; these wrongful exclusions may have put Governor Bush's brother in the White House. This year, Florida again drew up a felon list, and tried to keep it secret. When a judge forced the list's release, it turned out that it once again wrongly disenfranchised many people - again, largely African-American - while including almost no Hispanics.
He goes on to mention Herbert's article in yesterday's paper about some Florida police's use of intimidation against elderly black citizens. I think this will be a serious issue this election, regardless of who wins. We are suppossed to be the strongest democracy in the world, but the fact that we even have to discuss the possibility of large scale voter fraud is certainly problematic. I plan on voting absentee if I end up voting in a district that has electronic paperless voting. I have never understood why the makers of these electronic voting machines didn't provide a paper trail in the first place. It is just inviting criticism and doubt, not to mention conspiracy theorists. It is a simple step to take, and should be mandatory for all future EVMs.