Commentary: E-Ballot Box Ban Unfair

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(Sacramento, CA)
Friday, August 10, 2007

Secretary of State Debra Bowen doesn’t trust touch screen voting. She made that pretty clear when she was campaigning last year to become California’s top election official. So it came as no surprise that she would conduct her “top to bottom” test of the electronic machines that have been deployed in California.

But the tests weren’t conducted under real world conditions. Professional hackers were given free access to the machines, including access to secret computer codes.

All normal election day security measures were removed, including poll workers. Any voting system would be vulnerable under those circumstances. Remove poll workers and someone could simply walk off with boxes full of paper ballots.

Having conducted a test of dubious validity, Secretary Bowen used the results to decertify voting systems for more than half the state’s registered voters. Now, with touch screen voting virtually banned, Bowen must test and recertify replacement systems in time for the presidential primary. If she fails, and California’s primary turns into a Florida style debacle, blame Bowen.


Ginger Rutland writes for The Sacramento Bee opinion pages.