Some interesting coverage of the new L.A. system comes from NBC News by Kevin Monahan and Cynthia McFadden:
The biggest voting district in the United States came up with an audacious answer to the growing national problem of aging, malfunctioning and hackable voting machines. It decided to build its own.
Los Angeles County, which has more registered voters than 42 states, gave NBC News an exclusive national broadcast look at what may be the future of voting systems. The county’s 5.2 million registered voters will give the new system a test run in real time during California’s presidential primary next March.
Built with open-source technology over 10 years for $100 million, and combined with a rethink of the voting process that lets locals cast ballots over 11 days instead of 13 hours, L.A. County officials believe their new machines will cut down on mechanical breakdowns and crowding and provide sophisticated protections against hacking.
Even though the technology may be impressive, regular Democracy Chronicles readers might be sceptical. The backlash against voting machines without a paper trial is underway as more are demanding the use of paper ballots across the country. Democracy Chronicles is against the continued use of voting machines without a paper trial. Such machines can have a negative impact in voter confidence in election outcomes and are widely recognized as a potential vulnerability from a security standpoint. This point was expertly outlined in a great explanatory page on the website of the nonprofit fair election advocacy group, the Verified Voting Foundation:
The most important aspect of a voting system, with respect to accuracy, integrity and security, is whether or not it is independently auditable. That is, the very prerequisite to accuracy, integrity and security in today’s voting technology is that there be a voter-marked paper ballot, or at least a voter-verifiable paper audit trail, for every vote cast. This ensures that election officials will have something they can use to confirm whether or not the electronic tallies produced by the voting system accurately reflected the intention of the voters.
Much recommended is this discussion on voting technology from [email protected], part of “a series of quarterly conferences run by the U.S. Department of State that bring together individuals in the technology sector and foreign policy experts with the aim of exploring new ways of incorporating technologies into diplomacy and development”. The video has the following summary:
Electronic voting and counting technologies are increasingly being used or considered around the world. This includes touch screen “direct recording” electronic voting machines, internet voting, and optical scan machines, mobile voting, as well as biometric voter registration and verification. While the use of these technologies can bring benefits, they have also been met with concerns. This panel will explore recent experiences and challenges with e-voting, how electoral officials have managed these challenges, and how election observers are adapting their methods to monitor these technologies.
Moderating the panel discussion is Michael McNulty, from the National Democratic Institute. Panelists include such experts as Michael Alvarez of the Caltech/MIT Voting Technology Project, Doug Chapin of the University of Minnesota, Ben Goldsmith of the International Foundation for Electoral Systems and Dan Nolan of Scytl, a leader in the business of electoral security technology. Watch the full video, about an hour and fifteen minute long, right here: