Voting, what could be simpler? You get some choices and you pick one. Then you add up all the votes for each choice. A voting system doesn’t have to do much. Present a list of choices, and tally the number of votes cast for each choice. In the past this was done by printing the names of the candidates on a paper ballot, then people would mark their choice and put the ballot in a box. People would them read each ballot and tally the results. Pretty simple Huh? So step into the twenty-first century where everything must use computer technology. The requirements have not changed. Present a list of choices, select one from the list, tally the results. A computer program to do that is really very simple. So what could one possibly add to such a program that meets those requirements that could require protecting trade secrets? Frankly , I don’t believe anything that requires secrecy should be added to such a system. Secrecy like that is inherently dangerous to a democratic system. There is nothing innovative required to be added to a voting system to meet the requirements. Since a reliable voting system is a necessary to the proper functioning of a democracy all such systems should be open and accessible for complete review and auditing. Manufacturers of electronic voting systems such as Diebold, ES&S and Sequoia have absolutely no justifiable excuse for keeping there code secret. These systems are bought and paid for by taxpayer dollars. They are used for a public purpose. Anyone and I mean anyone should be able to look at and evaluate the code. If a company is not willing to provide all source code they should not be allowed to provide systems. No arguments. These are the rules, follow them or walk away. Manufacturers of voting systems should be nothing more than systems integrators. Get a pile of computer components, assemble them and install the same software.
The software that comprises a voting system should be completely open source and owned by the public. No private company should be controlling anything so critical as voting system software. Especially a company like Diebold that was until recently run by a corrupt republican political hack like Walden O’Dell. There is only one thing about voting that should be kept secret and that is who any individual voted for. Other than that everything should be completely open and transparent. If it had been in 2004, we might have already consigned George Bush to the history books. To read more on the subject of electronic voting go to Black Box Voting.