Role of Computer in the Conduct of Fourthcoming Election in Nigeria

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Conclusions

Electronic voting machines that use Closed Software and electronic voting records violate the two strongest of the core ideals necessary for mutual trust in an election. These ideals of transparency and oversight are time tested and necessary. Without voter-verified paper record facilities attached, these machines are unacceptable for use in any election. Their use should be discontinued, until such facilities are properly equipped and functional.

Ideally, we should be considering the use of electronic voting machines built upon Open technologies and equipped with a voter-verified paper trail. These machines have additional economic advantages beyond the trust issues detailed here.

Hybrid physical vote, electronic count systems, such as Optical Scan, have clear advantages in that they utilize voter-verified paper records directly, which eliminate many of the trust issues inherent in pure electronic solutions. Problems with the count can be identified and rectified with manual counting if indicated. These systems, already in wide use, combined with standardized ballots, are a mature, cost effective solution that remains viable, provided audits are properly performed to oversee the count.
Electronic information is vastly different from physical information. These differences, though obscure, have tremendous impact on our democratic process. The mounting problem reports we continue to see from this last Presidential Election reflect that reality directly.

The volume of incidents already reported, clearly indicate the need for reform. Those directly involved in the reform process must consider the differences between electronic voting and manual voting and act accordingly to avoid future election problems. Additionally, the American people are strongly urged to consider the information presented here and make their voice heard until proper reform is achieved.

Doug Dingus doug@opengeek.org Age 36. Married, 4 kids,...
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