E-voting ins and outs

You know its scary when legions of geeks are overwhelmingly against a new form of technology...

Slashdot's wisdom about California Secretary of State decision to ban certain Electronic Voting Systems from Diebold in three CA counties and threat to extend the ban to ten more counties. California will impose a paper voting trail to all machines in the state by 2006.

At the same time in Europe, an independent commission in Ireland recommends to suspend the use of the Nedap Powervote for the upcoming European elections next month (report, via The Register) because of serious doubts about their accuracy and secrecy. Meanwhile, despite all lessons learned all around the world about the flaws of such systems, the French administration quietly continues the roll out of the same Nedap systems that were introduced in one city in France for the March elections and will be extended to tens more for the June elections.

One month ago, the Open Voting Consortium demoed a free voting software that runs on very inexpensive PC hardware with an open source software and a tamper-proof, blind-friendly, voter-verifiable paper trail. The Mercury News called it the touch-screen holy grail, "An electronic voting system that's cheap, secure, accurate and easy to use. One that uses off-the-shelf hardware and publicly examinable software. One that voters can trust."