From Bruce O’Dell:

There is another serious problem with absentee voting: many jurisdictions now use electronic signature verification software, in some cases provided by … our friends at Diebold.

The Diebold “VoteRemote” application uses optical image recognition technology to check a paper signature against a digitized reference signature on file (say, a voter registration or a photo ID database).

In case enough alarm bells have not already gone off for you, let me add one or two of my own.

The VoteRemote software obviously can be interfaced with computerized voter registration databases; such a product is, conveniently enough, also sold by Diebold. Signature verification software also has a setting which controls how precise the match needs to be with the signature sample held in the voter registration database in order for the ballot to be accepted as genuine.

In those states with partisan registration, it’s not difficult to imagine covertly programming such a machine for very forgiving tolerances for verification of signatures of voters in one party … and much tougher standards for verifying the signatures of voters of another party.

Did I mention that since absentee ballot signature verification software does not actually tally votes (it only disqualifies them) it is exempt even from the ludicrously lax testing and certification protocol applied to vote tallying software?

Did I mention that according to witness testimony published on Black Box
Voting’s web site
, a rather well known individual named Jeffrey Dean was involved with development of

My advice: in 2006, run as far away from an absentee ballot as fast as you can.


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