Paper trail gains steam
The NY Times is onboard with the paper trail requirement for electronic voting machines.
And it's a good thing, too. Even though the paper of record has been suffering from an overblown reputation for quite a while now, it still carries some weight, and their recommendation includes more than just requiring paper receipts.
It should also mandate manual audits of a reasonable percentage of the state's voting machines to check their tabulations against the paper records. The Legislature should also insist that manufacturers reveal their computer code to state and local officials to show that there are no software errors or secret instructions to steal votes.
That's a powerful idea. I've long been in favor of requiring periodic random audits--after all, what good does it do to have a receipt if there's no call to check the system occasionally--but I really love the idea of open source software.
One of the greatest issues I've had with electronic voting has been the secretive nature of the proprietary software. Look, secrets breed conspiracy theories. Diebold and ES&S have taken a beating in the press and in the eyes of many statewide election officials in California, Ohio, and Indiana (and I'm sure I'm missing some) over the last couple of years because of their refusal to be open about anything.
Democracy depends on openness and transparency. I'm glad that the option is now at least on the table for discussion.