Dennis Kucinich on Electronic Voting
Democracy today is at risk by the very instrument that seeks to uphold it. Electronic voting machines with meager security and significant technical flaws threaten to undermine our voting rights and thus the reliability of the election process. Without federal review and software testing, these voting machines are being marketed by companies and bought by states at an alarming rate. We cannot wait for Congress to pass legislation to address this danger. We, the people, must take action NOW to ensure the accuracy and integrity of upcoming elections.
As citizens of the United States of America, we are fortunate to have a voting system that is designed to uphold democracy as the bedrock of our society. Although not flawless, this system serves to deliver our political representatives through a process aimed at creating a government of the people, by the people, and for the people. This type of government is essential to our democracy and, for the sake of the public interest, it must be preserved.
Election integrity cannot be assured without openness and transparency. Using electronic voting machines to conduct elections is dangerous to democracy because there is no way of ensuring their accuracy. It is imperative that there be a required voter-verified paper trail for every election so that any errors and irregularities caused by the voting machines can be discovered.
Unfortunately, there are no such requirements for the so-called “Direct Recording Electronic” machines currently being used in many communities and states. With the computer technology in use, there is constant risk of a program flaw — or worse, tampering with the software, which could change votes and thus change the outcome of elections. Without a “voter verified audit trail,” meaning a permanent record of each vote that the voter can check to verify that it represents his or her intent, these changes might never be detected.
Recent studies have reported numerous very serious technical flaws in electronic voting machines, including allowing a person to: vote more than once, see ballots that have been cast on a machine, change party affiliation on ballots, alter the counting of votes, modify, create or even delete votes inside the voting machines and interfere with audit logs and election results. Their analysis shows that the voting system is far below even the most minimal security standards, placing our future elections at risk to both insider and outsider attacks.
I am strong supporter and co-sponsor of H.R. 2239, otherwise known as the “Voter Confidence and Increased Accountability Act of 2003.” If enacted, this bill would:
Require all voting machines to produce a voter-verified paper record for use in manual audits and recounts.
Ban the use of undisclosed software and wireless communications devices in voting systems.
Have required all voting systems to meet these requirements in time for the general election in November 2004.
Require that electronic voting systems be provided for persons with disabilities by January 1, 2006.
Require mandatory surprise recounts in 0.5% of domestic jurisdictions and 0.5% of overseas jurisdictions.
We have already seen the consequences of inaccurate vote keeping in Florida during the 2000 Presidential Elections where over 280,000 ballots were uncounted, leaving the sum of disenfranchised Floridians far greater than the 537-vote margin by which the state was won. Thousands of nationally and internationally renowned computer scientists consider a voter-verified paper trail to be a critical safeguard for the accuracy, integrity, and security of computer-assisted elections. Many of them can also list dozens of plausible ways for computerized voting machines to be compromised.
While there is certainly room for improvement in voting technology, electronic voting machines are not the answer. I believe that election reform is an issue that deserves close attention, but we must also guard against changes that inadvertently create even worse problems. Unless we are using auditable voting equipment, public confidence in our elections will be eroded and the results of any election will remain open to question.
To learn more about electronic voting see Blackbox Voting and
In the News:, 4/24/04
Kucinich calls for suspension of electronic voting
Floor Statements, 109th Congress:
Go to Paper Ballots

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  • Kucinich is brilliant. He’s the only candidate who speaks and acts ‘presidential’. He’s got my vote.

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