Can We Trust The Machines?

Author(s): 
Walter R. Mebane Jr.
Journal: 
Science Magazine
pp: 
322
Status: 
Published

Since the 2000 U.S. presidential election, many have worked to increase voters’ confidence that election results are fair and correct. One theme from 2000 was that the technology used to record votes—especially punchcard ballots—was deficient and needed to be replaced. The Help America Vote Act of 2002 provided federal funds for states to acquire electronic voting machines or optically scanned paper ballots. New controversy arose when computer scientists and others complained that the recommended technologies were far from being up to the task. The
electronic technologies suffered from security weaknesses and production defects, and election officials often administered the new machines incompetently. Critics argued the machines lacked transparency, were unreliable,
and were possibly subject to undetectable manipulation.

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