Computer scientists slam e-voting machines

Experts recommend the machines not be used in elections unless they provide a physical paper trail.

Declan McCullagh Former Senior Writer
Declan McCullagh is the chief political correspondent for CNET. You can e-mail him or follow him on Twitter as declanm. Declan previously was a reporter for Time and the Washington bureau chief for Wired and wrote the Taking Liberties section and Other People's Money column for CBS News' Web site.
Declan McCullagh
The world's oldest professional society of computer scientists on Monday took aim at electronic voting machines, recommending they not be used in elections unless they provide a physical paper trail. In a new position statement, the Association for Computing Machinery said that "voting systems should enable each voter to inspect a physical record to verify that his or her vote has been accurately cast and to serve as an independent check on the result produced and stored by the system."

Accidental bugs or intentional malicious code in e-voting machines could theoretically alter an election's results. ACM said that a paper trail will provide a way to double-check what's happening inside machines from companies such as Diebold Election Systems and Sequoia Voting Systems--a feat that would not otherwise be possible. Such systems are expected to be used by tens of millions of voters in the Nov. 2 U.S. election.