[EM] voting machines

James Green-Armytage jarmyta at antioch-college.edu
Sat Aug 28 21:20:08 PDT 2004

Dave Ketchum <davek at clarityconnect.com> writes:
>If someone writes usable code, AND makes it public, what stops someone 
>else copying the code without paying those who did the work?

The threat of a law suit stops them, of course. I mean, these machines are
being contracted in large numbers for public use, right? In fact, public
access to the source codes should make it even easier to determine that
one company is using a source code that was copyrighted by another
company. So I think it would be foolishly easy to catch copyright

Anyway, I don't see why designing the software for an electronic voting
machine would be so hard anyway. It would probably require less hassle to
just design your own rather than steal someone else's and fight it out in
court. I mean, you give the voters a menu for each office or issue, and
whatever buttons they press, you save that as a tiny file and add the
numbers to the overall sums for the candidates. I think that most
competent software designers should be able to dispatch something like
that pretty quickly without any serious brain-strain.

You may have read that there are very rigorous standards for electronic
slot machines... their source codes are inspected on a regular basis to
ensure fairness. It is pathetic that any government officials would take
the notion seriously that we don't need voting machine standards which are
as rigorous as slot machine standards, but that's where we seem to be.

Man, this stuff has got me really worried. It's just scary how unconcerned
the Republicans seem about having a verifiable vote-counting process. It
doesn't seem unreasonable at this point to fear a slide into a
dictatorship, that is, a loss of all democratic accountability, by means
of voting machines which routinely falsify the result in favor of the
ruling party.


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