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National Issues

Electoral Apocalypse? E-voting Woes Remain as Election Nears PDF  | Print |  Email
By ulian Sanchez, Ars Technica   
September 21, 2008
As state election officials scurry to prepare for projected record turnout rates in November, two reports issued this week suggest that efforts to modernize the American election system since the notoriously fraught presidential vote in 2000 are falling short.

Coming up short, too late to fix

A report issued by the Government Accountability Office Tuesday summarized the findings of a year-long performance audit of the Election Assistance Commission, established by the Help America Vote Act of 2000 to aid states in upgrading their voting systems. The Commission is supposed to act both as an information clearinghouse and as a certification and oversight body for voting machine manufacturers. On both counts, the report found significant problems with the agency's efforts to date.

The EAC is supposed to provide a federal-level certification process for voting systems, and though it currently has 12 certifications pending, it has yet to complete any—meaning states must rely on their own procedures. One reason for this, GAO found, is that EAC had failed to "define its approach for testing and certifying electronic voting systems in sufficient detail to ensure that its certification activities are performed thoroughly and consistently."

The need to reconcile differing interpretations of the commission's vague guidelines had "contributed to delays in certifying systems that several states were planning on using in the 2008 elections... forcing states to either not require EAC certification or rely on an alternative system."

Read the entire article at ArsTechnica
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