Friday, January 14, 2005

EVoting and Dishonest Computers

by Asim Jalis

One of the interesting but incorrect assumptions I have noticed in evoting discussions has been that if a computer was going to change your vote it would have to show this to you. People assume that if they pushed the button to vote for candidate B and the computer registered that as a vote for candidate A, that in this case the computer would be forced to report this to you on a confirmation screen. So several people have argued that since only a small number of people complained about confirmation screen errors, it follows that the computers recorded most of the votes correctly. Somehow people have a hard time believing that the computer could lie on the confirmation screen. Or that it could even record your vote correctly and then change it several hours or days after you voted. Or that it could delete your vote. Or that it could create fictitious votes. They don't realize that the computer can do anything it wants. There is nothing that forces it to be honest on the confirmation screen.