Wednesday, April 04, 2007

French Concerned With Electronic Voting Skullduggery

This article uses a bad example to illustrate the pitfalls of relying on modern voting systems.

The real problem with electronic voting happens when you never know anything has gone wrong, not newsmaking clusterfucks like last fall in Sarasota.

For France's Socialists, among others, the coming presidential election could descend into a nightmare like last fall's in Florida.

This is the first presidential election in France to use paperless computer voting. As many as 1.5 million of the 44.5 million registered voters are expected to cast their ballots electronically in more than 80 municipalities around the country.

But with election day less than three weeks away, opposition to the electronic voting machines has grown, in part because a small percentage of them are made by the same American company whose machines were involved in a bitterly disputed Congressional election in Florida last November.

"We have doubts about the reliability of these machines," Gilles Savary, a spokesman for Ségolène Royal, the Socialist Party candidate, said in an interview. "I don't want to lecture America. But we don't want France to fall into the same Kafkaesque balloting as happened in the United States."

Last week, the Socialist Party called for a moratorium on using the machines until their reliability could be determined. The party also wants a debate on the issue in Parliament.

"Reliability" is not really the issue.

Electronic voting technology -- as used in modern political skullduggery -- can deliver extremely "reliable" results for those who seek to manipulate the tally.

The French should be focusing instead on engineered access that enables electoral abuses.

These machines are only as honest as the people who handle them.


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