Monday, August 16, 2004

Paper Trail Disappears in Test

WIRED - When Sequoia Voting Systems demonstrated its new paper-trail electronic voting system for state Senate staffers in California last week, the company representative got a surprise when the paper trail failed to record votes that testers cast on the machine. That was bad news for the voting company, whose paper-trail, touch-screen machine will be used for the first time next month in Nevada's state primary. The company advertises that its touch-screen machines provide "nothing less than 100 percent accuracy." It was good news, however, for computer scientists and voting activists, who have long held that touch-screen machines are unreliable and vulnerable to tampering, and therefore must provide a physical paper-based audit trail of votes. "It goes to our point that a paper trail is very much needed to (ensure) that the machine accurately reports what people press," said Susie Swatt, chief of staff for state Sen. Ross Johnson (R-Irvine), who witnessed the glitch in the Sequoia machine.

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