2008-01-06

NY Times article on e-voting

I was pleased to see Sunday New York Times Magazine have a front-page story (registration required) on the problems with e-Voting. While the article was a great opportunity to get these concerns in front of the American public, I feel its author, Clive Thompson, did not do the issue justice. Apart from glossing over the more serious concerns of the e-Voting machines in favor of detailing the political wrangling that resulted, the author all but undermines these concerns in the first paragraphs of the article with this sentence:

The earliest critiques of digital voting booths came from the fringe - disgruntled citizens and scared-senseless computer geeks...

The failure of government and society to listen to the subject matter experts on this topic is the single biggest contributor to the quagmire we're in with digital voting. The longer our political system and fellow citizens regard legitimate science as "tinfoil hat pontificating," the more likely we are to continue to run into these sort of problems with technology. The computer science and information security communities have been voicing the same concerns about e-voting machines from the very beginning, and now it turns out all of our concerns have been justified. For Mr. Thompson to consider these concerns as the mere rantings of "scared senseless computer geeks" - even in retrospect - completely illegitimates those concerns that he's now reporting on.

Note: I also voiced this concern as a comment on Bruce Schneier's blog. If you don't regularly read it, you should.

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