ELECTRONIC VOTING'S HIDDEN PERILS

Dan points to this story in the Mercury News on another e-voting scandal. This one concerns our old friend, Diebold. Huge problems here:

Concerned that their new $12.7 million Diebold electronic voting system had developed a glitch, election officials turned to a company representative who happened to be on hand.

Lucky he was there. For an unknown reason, the computerized tally program had begun to award votes for Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante to Burton, a socialist from Southern California.

Similar mishaps have occurred across the country since election officials embraced electronic voting in the wake of the Florida vote-counting debacle of 2000.

When Californians go to the polls next month to choose a presidential candidate, many voters will cast a virtual ballot by pressing a computer touch screen that records their votes digitally. The only tangible proof that a citizen has voted — and how he voted — will be fingerprints left on the machine’s screen.

Electronic voting removes the risk of election officials misinterpreting hanging chads. But it raises another electoral peril: that a digital ballot box might miscount votes without anyone noticing.