Is Venezuela Ahead of Us on E-Voting?

by on November 29, 2006 · 10 comments

Mike Masnick notes that Venezuela is ahead of the United States when it comes to adopting voter-verified paper trails for their electronic voting machines. Several commenters objected that given the level of corruption in Venezuela’s government, this doesn’t really mean anything: corrupt government officials can mis-count paper voting records as easily as electronic ones.

I don’t know enough about Venezuelan politics to have a definite opinion on whether the election is likely to be rigged, but the general point is quite true. Voting security ultimately turns on human factors, not technological ones. If the people running your election system are systematically corrupt, your election results are going to be suspect no matter what technological safeguards you put in place. E-voting (with or without a voter-verified paper trail) can’t make dishonest officials follow the rules. It simply obfuscates the voting process, making it less likely that someone will spot foul play should it occur.

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