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Voting Machines

I think that the recent discussions about voting machines and their accuracy especially hit close to home considering that Minnesota is in the middle of a debate over votes between senator candidates Al Franken and Norm Coleman. The movie, Hacking Democracy, made me think more about the voting process we have in America and whether or not I agree with it. The movie found numerous examples of program flaws and opportunities for deceit and corruption within the voting process. I do feel that there are changes that need to be made, however I don’t think that is a nation emergency as it is portrayed in the film. It is important to remember that no election or voting process will be 100% accurate. When people are involved there is human error and when machines are used there is always the change of a technical glitch or malfunction. The electronic voting machines and paper ballot counters do allow for new technology and techniques to be used if someone wants to rig or change the outcome of an election, but similar problems to the ones discussed in Hacking Democracy occurred before the use of technology in the voting process. The main point that Hacking Democracy discusses that I agree with completely is the need for transparency with Diebold, the company that manufactures and distributes electronic voting machines. While I understand the government’s want to distance themselves from the company to avoid accusations of corruption, by doing so they are actually doing the opposite. No company should be allowed to keep the machines that they produce completely secret and unable to be checked to verify their accuracy by an outside company, especially when those machines are used in elections. If Diebold has nothing to hide, like they say, then they should not be refusing or resisting attempts to check the accuracy of their machines. In their press statements Diebold defends the accuracy and technology of their machines and claims that the accusations against them are completely false and unfounded. If this is true and Diebold is as confident with their machines as they say, then not only should they not resist these attempts to test their machines, they should welcome them. The fact that Diebold is not allowing these tests to be done gives the implication that Diebold in fact is hiding something and perhaps they may have faulty equipment. I think that implication gives probable cause for an investigation of Diebold by the government to see if there is any illegal activity occurring within the company.