Global Politics

Concerns about e-voting

JK says he became concerned about while in grad school: I came across all these doctom start ups that were selling e-voting and they all wanted large sums of money for their solutions and I thought, I could do this better in a free software solution a bit like linux. When I started trying to build this program, I realize there was no way we could make current technology sufficiently secure or accurate for an e-voting system. (Why not?) The fundamental problem is you're dependent on trust but we all know every program has bugs. (What e-voting systems have you studied and where?) The countries that have been using or trying this are Canada, USA, Ireland, Brazil, the U.K., Netherlands, Belgium, Italy, France. The most common types are touch screen systems, but also paper scanners, but the ultimate is internet voting where you vote online. (What are the significant flaws?) There have been things like delayed results, invalid results. The flaws with the machines are they could not work, the computers will crash or not start. A lot of these countries have now gone back on e-voting. (What are the alternatives they're now using?) Paper and pencil. (What would you say Americans should be most vigilant about with the upcoming election?) The problem with the U.S. is that you have such a diverse election system, and every county and state has different systems. But there should be as much scrutiny and as many people involved as possible because that helps prevent innocent problems which can have an effect on the outcome.

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(This story is based on a radio interview. Listen to the audio to hear it.)

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