Vote-but verify

The Texas Tribune had a good story looking at the uncertainty about ballot counting in Texas. Texas (like many other states) has pressed ahead on the use of electronic voting without dealing with some of the uncertainties that come with that technology. Creating paper trails or other means of verifying ballots will cost money. However, compared to the costs of paying teams of lawyers to defend uncertain practices…

Many people are content to pour money into Vegas slot machines whose payoffs are determined by centralized computers. Those systems are subject to strict scrutiny by the state and that trust may be well deserved. Still, mechanical voting machines could be rigged and I’m not convinced that their digital heirs aren’t also at risk.

Can we trust this technology? Can we trust it enough to rely on it without any means of verification?

A host of science fiction books and movies have been based on fears of computers and machines violently attempting to take over the world. Should that be our only worry about the role of computers in the future?

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