Letter to the editor

Paper isn't proof

The recent discussion about electronic voting ["Undecided on E-Voting," Oct. 11] focused mostly on voter-verified paper audit trails. But these audit trails don't prove that a vote was counted properly, and in the end, isn't that all that matters?

History tells us that recording, transporting and counting votes on paper is fraught with potential fraud and error. A search of The New York Times archive reveals more than 4,700 articles in the past 150 years about paper ballot fraud in the United States, about one incident every 12 days.

Most recently, voters in the Venezuelan presidential recall election this summer used electronic voting machines that produced a paper ballot audit trail. But because the incumbent regime's military had possession of the paper ballots three days before the audit, the opposition rejected the results of both the election and the audit. The paper ballots failed to achieve indisputable proof of election accuracy, and instead resulted in more uncertainty.

The call for voter-verified paper audit trails is like the call to move from cars back to horses in the early 1900s. Cars were considered dangerous new technology because they lacked critical safety equipment, such as safety glass. Instead of moving backward in elections, we need to look forward and, in effect, add "safety glass" to our electronic voting machines.

There are new technologies on the market based on cryptography that can ensure election integrity better than voter-verified paper audit trails -- and that can prove to every voter that their vote was counted properly.

For example, VoteHere has a solution called VHTi, a voter-verified election audit technology that can be added to any electronic voting machine. VHTi goes beyond voter-verified paper audit trails because it proves election results are valid end to end, not just at the polling booth.

VHTi does two things. First, it gives the voter a private receipt to verify that his or her vote was properly recorded and counted in the final results while maintaining ballot secrecy. Voter-verified paper audit trails can't do this.

Second, VHTi creates a meaningful and transparent audit trail that lets anyone independently verify election results with accuracy, down to a single vote. Voter-verified paper audit trails can't do this either.

To be clear, technology such as VHTi does not protect machines from compromise, but instead detects when elections are compromised. Think of it as an alarm system for elections.

Let's not be distracted by the call for paper ballots and be tempted to bring back the horse and buggy. Instead of banning technology in elections, we should let innovation work and add safety equipment to our electronic voting machines. Only then will we have truly safe elections.

? Tom Mereckis, Director of marketing

VoteHere Inc., Bellevue, Wash.

Reader Comments

Please post your comments here. Comments are moderated, so they may not appear immediately after submitting. We will not post comments that we consider abusive or off-topic.

Please type the letters/numbers you see above

What is your e-mail address?

My e-mail address is:

Do you have a password?

Forgot your password? Click here
close
SEARCH
contracts DB

Trending

  • Dive into our Contract Award database

    In an exclusive for WT Insider members, we are collecting all of the contract awards we cover into a database that you can sort by contractor, agency, value and other parameters. You can also download it into a spreadsheet. Read More

  • Is SBA MIA on contractor fraud? Nick Wakeman

    Editor Nick Wakeman explores the puzzle of why SBA has been so silent on the latest contractor fraud scandal when it has been so quick to act in other cases. Read More

Webcasts

  • How Do You Support the Project Lifecycle?

    How do best-in-class project-based companies create and actively mature successful organizations? They find the right mix of people, processes and tools that enable them to effectively manage the project lifecycle. REGISTER for this webinar to hear how properly managing the cycle of capture, bid, accounting, execution, IPM and analysis will allow you to better manage your programs to stay on scope, schedule and budget. Learn More!

  • Sequestration, LPTA and the Top 100

    Join Washington Technology’s Editor-in-Chief Nick Wakeman as he analyzes the annual Top 100 list and reveals critical insights into how market trends have impacted its composition. You'll learn what movements of individual companies means and how the market overall is being impacted by the current budget environment, how the Top 100 rankings reflect the major trends in the market today and how the biggest companies in the market are adapting to today’s competitive environment. Learn More!