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perry64 writes "I've seen many discussions on/. and elsewhere regarding electronic voting and its many problems. I am as scared as anyone about evil/incompetent source code affecting an election's outcome without us knowing it, but the problem doesn't seem that hard to me. Therefore, either I am significantly smarter than everyone else, or there are aspects of the problems I am missing. As much as I would like to believe the former, life's experiences make me believe it is the latter and my simple plan (described below) won't work. I'm hoping/. readers can do what they love to do, show where someone is wrong and enlighten me on the issue.
1. The voter goes to the electronic voting machine and votes.
2. After the voter verifies the screen correctly reflects the voter's intention and presses a button, the voter's selection is printed out on a small printer (think the same size as rental car employees wear around their neck) in characters designed for easy OCR.
3. The machine asks the voter if the printed slate matches the slate on the screen, and the voter selects "yes" or "no."
4) If no, the voter's votes are not counted, he/she is instructed to return the printed card to the poll workers, who destroy it and allow the voter to go to another machine and vote again.
5) If yes, the voter puts the card into a ballot box.
6) At the end of election day, a certain number of the ballots are scanned and compared to the electronic totals reported from that precinct. If the results are within acceptable tolerances (which statisticians provide, as well as the number of ballots required to be scanned), the electronic results are used. If not, there is a complete optical recount. The results from the optical recount are used, and if the optical recount does not agree within the voting machines margin of error, an investigation is launched to determine why this is.
7) The errors are reported from each precinct, and if the average error from all precincts is greater than the margin of victory, a complete optical recount is ordered. (This would prevent someone from coding the machines to each give an acceptable error, but always for the same candidate, thus affecting very close elections.)
This seems to have most of the benefits of electronic voting (cost, speed, ability to correct a misstated vote, ease of use) without the problems that opponents of electronic voting list: no paper trail, the ability of bad software to change an election (either intentional or not), etc.
perry64 writes "David A. Wheeler has a long discussion about the problems with free-libre/open source software (FLOSS) license proliferation. It was brought on by a supposedly open source license "that could be interpreted as, 'If we developers did lots of illegal activities in creating the software, you're required to pay for our legal expenses to defend our illegal activities, even if the only thing that you did is provide copies of this software to other people, or used it incidentally.'"" Link to Original Source