crypto and public policy

Way to Go, Florida Election Officials

Filed under: Security & Crypto November 2, 2004 @ 12:05 am

Bloggers – Atrios and Kos – are upset about an optical scan failure in Daytona Beach, Florida.

In fact, you have to give credit to the election officials who did exactly the right thing. With tens of thousands of voting machines out there, some are bound to fail. Apparently, as soon as the election officials detected this failure, they did exactly the right thing: they contacted party representatives and proceeded to secure the ballots. They then recounted the ballots with party representatives present.

What more could you ask for? This is exactly what you want election officials to do in case of failure. And certainly, as Atrios at least points out, it would be much worse with a non-paper electronic voting machine.

Now, the questions to really ask are: what allowed the officials to detect this failure? Are election officials at all polling locations given information on what red flags to look out for? In other words, were we just lucky to detect this failure, or is there a good process in place to detect these failures with high probability? That’s really what the press should be looking into.

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