Friday, 08 February 2008 00:00

20 Calif. Counties Scrap Electronic Vote Machines

Written by  Mandalit Del Barco | NPR
Riverside County Registrar Barbara Dunmore stands in a warehouse stacked high with expensive — but now defunct — electronic voting machines. Riverside County Registrar Barbara Dunmore stands in a warehouse stacked high with expensive — but now defunct — electronic voting machines. Mandalit del Barco, NPR

California has the most votes at stake on Super Tuesday, but counting those returns could take a lot longer than usual. Electronic voting machines in more than 20 counties have been scrapped because of security concerns.

In the 2000 presidential election, Riverside became the first county in the nation to move entirely to electronic voting.

"We were very, very nervous knowing no one had done it before. On other hand, it was very exciting knowing we were on the cutting edge of technology, deploying this equipment we knew we were going to be able to count votes quicker," says Riverside County Registrar Barbara Dunmore.

Most of Riverside's 3,700 electronic voting units will not be used as planned this year, however.

A study led by UC Berkeley computer scientist David Wagner revealed that e-voting is not as secure and reliable as it should be. As a result, electronic voting machines were decertified across California.

"We found the voting systems — all three of them we looked at — were susceptible to computer viruses," Wagner says.

"An attacker could craft a specially tailored computer virus that could spread throughout a county, and once it infected all the voting machines in a county, could miscount or misrecord the votes."

Wagner says any high-tech attacks would have required sophisticated hackers, but the bottom line is that it was possible to throw a close election.

Now 20 counties are scrambling to prepare for Tuesday's primary. Like Riverside County, most are using election workers to input paper ballots into old-style optical scanners.

Paul Shook is one of the elections workers at county headquarters who now has to hand-feed stacks of paper ballots. They sometimes have to be double-checked and rewritten if a voter makes a mistake or writes in some unofficial candidate.

"Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck ... a lot of times you get Superman also," he says.

On election night, county workers here will have to wait for truckloads of paper ballots to be delivered from remote desert and mountain areas.

Dunmore says it's going to mean the election results won't be tallied for hours or even days.

"E-voting went a long way to make sure all votes recorded accurately. To go back to paper that is so labor intensive, it's gonna be a long night election day," Dunmore says.

Some of Riverside's electronic voting machines will still be available for blind or disabled voters. And Dunmore is hopeful that all of the devices will be recertified one day.

"Using all of this paper to me is like charging forward to the past," she says.


Listen to the story and original article on NPR

Read 863 times Last modified on Monday, 23 February 2015 00:21

Latest Economic and Social Justice News

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8

Featured News

  • Progressives Take Stand as Fast Track Fight Kicks into High Gear on Capitol Hill +

    'The grassroots movement against Fast Track is nationwide,' says activist With legislation to speed up congressional approval of the Trans Pacific Read More
  • European Union Targets Google with Antitrust Probe +

    If Google executives use their service to perform an online search for "antitrust + European Union" on Wednesday morning, they may Read More
  • CREDO Launches National Drive to End Cancer-Linked Mountaintop Removal Mining +

    Calling for a "national, coordinated response to the humanitarian disaster of mountaintop removal mining," CREDO Action launched an extraordinary petition Read More
  • Fracking Boom Accompanied by Rise of Silent, Deadly Carcinogen in Homes: Study +

    New study contradicts finding released earlier this year by Pennsylvania's DEP which said radon levels were nothing to worry about Read More
  • Bystander Who Filmed Horrifying Footage: 'Officer Just Shot Him in the Back' +

    Speaking with news outlets for the first time, witness says victim did not have possession of Taser as officer initially claimed Read More
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9
  • 10
  • 11
  • 12
  • 13
  • 14
  • 15
  • 16
  • 17
  • 18
  • 19
  • 20
  • 21
  • 22
  • 23
  • 24
  • 25
  • 26
  • 27
  • 28
  • 29
  • 30
  • 31
  • 32
  • 33
  • 34
  • 35
  • 36
  • 37
  • 38

ESJ Calls

Featured Economic and Social Justice News

  • Bystander Who Filmed Horrifying Footage: 'Officer Just Shot Him in the Back' +

    Speaking with news outlets for the first time, witness says victim did not have possession of Taser as officer initially claimed Read More
  • Obama Promises Rare Veto As House Votes to Slow Down Union Elections, Curb NLRB +

    In a show of electoral strength by anti-union Republicans in Congress, the U.S. House of Representatives easily passed legislation Thursday Read More
  • GOP Budget Slashes Tax Rates for the 1 Percent, Safety Net for Everyone Else +

    Proposal, columnist writes, 'is based on an economic philosophy that has failed the country and its people savagely in the Read More
  • The People's Budget: Progressive Proposal Aims to Un-Rig Failed Economic System +

    The budget plan 'fixes an economy that, for too long, has failed to provide the opportunities American families need to Read More
  • Budget Cuts Shouldn't Come at our Kids' Expense +

    Funding for education is more than a line item on a budget – it’s an investment in a brighter future for Read More
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8

Does Your Legislator Support the ERA

 

ERAMap