Software // Enterprise Applications
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9/13/2007
10:14 AM
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Paper Trails Don't Ensure Accurate E-Voting Totals, Group Charges

The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation says paper trails increase costs and can actually reduce the chances a voters' choices are accurately counted.

Paper trails aren't enough to ensure accurate vote counts, according to the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation.

ITIF said this week that paper trails increase costs and can actually reduce the chances a voters' choices are accurately counted. Congress is considering a "Voter Confidence and Increased Accountability Act of 2007," which would mandate "voter-verified" paper audit trails.

The bill, H.R. 811, aims to increase the security and reliability of electronic voting. It is similar to legislation that several states could pass as well.

ITIF plans to release a report next week, stating that paper audit trails have "serious limitations that diminish their ability to effectively verify election results." ITIF said it opposes a federal mandate to require paper audit trails because it would prevent the use of other voting technology with more security, transparency, and reliability.

ITIF wants to spark discussion of how new technology can solve the problems. The report outlines innovations in voting machines that offer "end-to-end verifiability." It explains the cryptography the systems use and says that Congress should pass legislation based on S. 730 and H.R. 2360, which require verifiable audit trails without specifying that paper be used.

The report will be available online.

ITIF is a non-profit, public policy think tank. It states that its mission is to promote state and federal technology policy that will encourage productivity and innovation, while supporting a digital economy.

Last year's mid-term elections revealed several glitches in electronic voting. The U.S. Election Assistance Commission plans to issue new guidelines that address the problems. The guidelines are likely to include recommendations for paper trails.

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