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Technology and Democracy (23 Oct 2004)
So what’s wrong? A lot, actually. Earlier U.S. elections that featured electronic voting do not inspire much confidence. To take just one example: in an election in Indiana in 2003, 5,352 voters produced 144,000 votes. Successive independent studies have found security breaches in the software of the most commonly used machines.

The subject inflames political passions. The most paranoid critics of electronic voting believe that the machines have actually disenfranchised voters: in the August 16 issue of the left-leaning magazine the Nation, Ronnie Dugger wrote that Senator Max Cleland’s loss in the 2002 Georgia election (in which electronic voting machines were widely used) was “highly suspicious.” Dugger insinuated that the electronic machines, some of which had been stolen before the election, had been hacked.

While the fears of the conspiracy-minded are almost certainly misplaced, election officials in California and Ohio were so worried about accuracy and security that they simply halted the rollout of the machines in many counties. This was wise, but it will be a pity if electronic voting is discredited. E-voting in itself makes sense: it is faster, more accurate, and easier than any alternative.
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