Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Visit To MicroVote

As a candidate for Secretary of State, one of the jobs I could possibly hold is that of the state's top elections official. So, with a prominent vendor of voting machines, MicroVote, located right in Indianapolis, in the Broad Ripple area, it was natural to visit their offices this morning.

Steve Shamo met with me and demonstrated the Infinity voting machine, and I grilled him on the fail-safes. One of the main things that interested me was the possibility of VVPAT- voter verifiable paper trails.

I learned that Microvote could do this, but has real concerns about it. (Diebold and ES&S currently have it.) Their big concern is Constitutional. The ballot is supposed to be secret. But, in the course of creating a paper trail, it records the votes in sequence. Especially in places where the precincts are small and only one machine is used, whomever views the paper receipts could trace back to learn who voted how. That's a problem that they haven't figured out how to overcome yet.

I appreciated Steve taking the time to give me the guided tour and to answer my questions. I feel greatly educated on the machines used in the majority of Indiana counties.

Steve offered to forward a link to an 11-minute video discussing pros and cons on the VVPAT. Look for that on an update entry soon.

2 comments:

Todd S. said...

Why not generate a receipt only for the voter? The official results can still be stored within the machine, not printed out. Then it's up to each voter to guard his receipt for secrecy.

Mike Kole said...

Fair question. Mainly, the concern is that it leads to vote buying. The receipt is the verification that they vote went the way the vote buyer wanted it to go.

One thing the Infinity machine does is allow the voter to see the choices made on the screen and verify them there. Some people have a concern that the software can be rigged, and have greater trust in a paper trail that is enclosed within the machine.

The Infinity can generate a paper trail, but not one that is voter verifiable.