"Daily Debrief: Sigh, e-voting still stinks"
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CNET News Video
Daily Debrief: Sigh, e-voting still stinks
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>> Kara: Welcome to the Daily Debrief, I'm CNET's Kara Tsuboi here with CNET News Chief Political Correspondent, Declan McCullagh
who has recently published and article on CNET News about electronic voting machines and the public skepticism over the use of these
>> Declan: Our DC colleague Stephanie and I wrote that and you know that the public's skepticism is at an all time high when the
Simpson's mock it in yesterday's episode. But the problems have been going on a while it's only now in the last year that they've
moved from theoretical to actual, you had computer scientists looking at the source code, Ohio and California Secretary's of State
that commissioned reports and those reports had been absolutely scathing. And so, this is now sort of this revolution towards touch-screen
electronic voting machines and a move back towards paper ballot and optical scanning.
>> Kara: But I know a lot of manufacturers of these machines have created some work- arounds to give people peace of mind like either
a paper receipt or confirmation or, I mean, but still those are not giving people peace of mind are they?
>> Declan: Well, there are a lot of ways that they can be hacked or disrupted, I mean, one way to do it, and this is what you were
referring to, is have a voter verifiable paper trail; there's something that is printed out and you look at it under glass and you
can visually verify that it matches your vote. And this is actually probably a good thing but then what happens if the printer jams,
what happens if they're out of paper, what happens if they're out of ink? It's thermal paper, what happens if it's really hot, if
thermal paper fades over time. It's not that simple and so this is part of the problem.
>> Kara: So you're saying that going back to the traditional paper pencil is really the easiest way, the safest way to get your vote in.
>> Declan: Well, it -- I mean, we're still early on in trying to figure out voting technology, maybe in 10 or 20 years or even sooner
we'll come up with something better but this is probably a better way to go just because there have been so many programming problems,
so many ways to introducing new viruses into one machine that then can infect the entire system, e-voting machines are not necessarily
the way to go.
>> Kara: And of course, ya know, candidates, voter groups can see this as complete voter manipulation, reason for voters to be
disenfranchised for not voting, I mean, therefore, it turns into a bigger more complicated political issue not just a technology issue
if something were to go wrong.
>> Declan: It is, it's become a partisan issue in many states but I think that both political parties, I would like to think, have
an interest in an honest outcome and an outcome that folks can trust. Ya know, we're seeing some bills in Congress but Congress really
screwed this one up to be honest, they decided to spend a few billion dollars on, in 2002, to promote [inaudible] touch-screen voting
machines without mandating any security features and you can see where this got us.
>> Kara: Absolutely, well, have you voted already?
>> Declan: I have not.
>> Kara: We'll see what happens when we do; we'll both go to the polls on Election Day.
>> Declan: Of course.
>> Kara: Hopefully we'll feel like our vote has been recorded accurately and will actually count, right?
>> Declan: In theory.
>> Kara: In theory [laughing]. Thanks so much, CNET News Chief Political Correspondent Declan McCullagh, I'm Kara Tsuboi we'll see you
on the next Daily Debrief.
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