Monday, March 07, 2005

Say "no" to NIST's voter verification deception

The National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST) just released a draft of their input on VVPATs and DRE audits as requested by the Technical Guidelines Development Committee (TGDC) of the Election Assistance Commission.

Preliminary Report: NIST Approach to VVPAT Requirements for the VSS
2002 Addendum (John Wack)

The NIST draft is a step backward.

1. It does not require that the votes on the voter verified ballot be the official votes that get counted. Consequently, it is little more than a mechanism to deceive voters into thinking that voters are verifying their votes.

2. It requires that the voter be able to compare the votes on the paper to the votes in the computer -- which as far as I can tell is not possible. "To permit the voter, at the time of voting, to verify that the DRE-VVPAT is recording the electronic ballot choices correctly and to resolve problems should they occur,"

3. Several members of the IEEE committee on Voting Systems objected to this solution and provided many arguments against it.

As far as I can tell, this draft is another attempt to protect DRE vendors and election officials who have purchased DRE equipment, and is not an attempt to achieve the highest level of election security, accuracy and verifiability.

The draft should be rejected.