Critics fret over U.S. electronic vote

Oct. 25, 2004 at 7:43 AM
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WASHINGTON, Oct. 25 (UPI) -- With one-third of U.S. voters facing electronic voting machines next week, critics are expressing fears over reliability and auditing.

More than double the number of voters will use the ATM-like machines Nov. 2 following the balloting mayhem in the 2000 elections, particularly in Florida.

Rep. Rush Holt, D-N.J., who sponsored legislation calling for a separate paper trail for electronic voting, is one of those nervous about potential failures.

"There could be a subtle software error that resides in those machines for months and years, and no one would ever know," Holt told the Washington Post. "There could be an error only in a particular election, and no one would ever know. There would be a cloud hanging over any election that uses these unaudited, unverifiable electronic machines."

Voters in 28 states and the District of Columbia using screens similar to ATMs are guided step-by-step through a ballot. They cannot pick too many candidates or leave marks that would have to be scrutinized to guess their intent. Counts will be generated automatically and almost instantaneously. There will be no paper ballots to transport, store or count.

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