Thursday, September 20, 2007

Another Cautionary Tale

This one from Ohio: yet one more example of problems with touch screen voting machines bought in a hurry, and yet another reason why we must rigorously test new electronic voting machines before counties make their main purchases -- particularly touch-screen voting systems.

It's worth noting that the "full face" touch screen machines New York is looking to purchase (which have a huge screen listing every candidate and race) are far more expensive and complex than the "scrolling" touchscreens Cleveland purchased (which have a relatively small screen, and just list one race at a time). There's a simple principle in computer science: the more complex a system, the more potential for mistakes and problems.

Given that principle, wouldn't it make sense to just go with Optical Scanners -- systems that allow voters to fill out a ballot, and that are far less complicated than the full face touch screen machines New York is looking at?

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