Bowen Throws Down The Gauntlet – Evoting Update II   2 comments

California’s Secretary of State, Debra Bowen, is back in the news in her campaign to fix the horrid monstrosities that are e-voting machines. Two earlier posts on this story here and here. Story is also being carried over at Bruce Schneier’s blog and Ed Felten’s blog.

Quote from the SFgate article:

Electronic voting systems used throughout California still aren’t good enough to be trusted with the state’s elections, Secretary of State Debra Bowen said Saturday.

While Bowen has been putting tough restrictions and new security requirements on the use of the touch screen machines, she admitted having doubts as to whether the electronic voting systems will ever meet the standards she believes are needed in California.

“It’s a real challenge,” she said at a San Francisco airport conference on voting and elections. “I don’t rule out the ingenuity of some computer science student now in the eighth grade,” but what’s available now isn’t as transparent or auditable as the paper ballot systems they replaced.

Some voting officials are displeased:

“The secretary of state has a strategic plan, and I disagree with it,” Steven Weir, Contra Costa County’s registrar, told the conference. “Her plan is to debase confidence in our voting system,” and Bowen has excluded local election officials from decisions that affect them greatly.

To Mr. Weir, I must say that “debasing confidence” is an interesting turn of phrase, here. By all of the audit reports on these machines, anyone who has even the slightest interest in security would say that the machines are worthy of no confidence. You can’t “debase confidence” if there is no confidence to be had; this isn’t a matter of “crying wolf”. This is a matter of pointing out that there is no fence around the pasture.

Anyone who bought these machines, or approved the purchase of these machines, quite simply did not perform due diligence on the product they were purchasing. The fact that counties now have to replace the machines isn’t the fault of the Secretary of State for de-certifying these machines. It’s the fault of the people who bought a giant heaping pile of crud without testing the machines or getting the vendor from whom they were purchasing the machines to provide a warranty or guarantee of suitability. You messed up. Instead of crying politics or throwing blame around, eat your crow. Quite frankly, if “local election officials” were excluded from the de-certification process, this appears to be a good thing – anyone with judgment bad enough to buy these machines obviously should be excluded from decision making processes.


Posted December 6, 2007 by padraic2112 in news, politics, security

2 responses to “Bowen Throws Down The Gauntlet – Evoting Update II

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  1. It turns out that most county officials are working well with Bowen and her restricted use of the voting machines. There are still a few hold outs like Weir and he needs to be contacted every time he speaks out against Bowen.

    We mustn’t let the “swiftboat” style people do anything to hinder Bowen’s work to RESTORE confidence in our votes being counted as cast.

  2. Pat. CA’s Secretary of State spells her surname without a “d” in the middle.

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