I sent this document to the following recipients on Sunday, 13 November 2005, at around 6:firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com Reply to Jan Brewer (Saturday, 2005.11.12) "Voting lawsuit is an insult"
At the most recent annual meeting of the CPSR (Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility), we pondered what should be our primary issue of focus. Many were considered: Internet governance, RFID usage, cyberterrorism, privacy and civil liberties, women in computing, broadband deployment, voting systems, etc.
The CPSR was started by a group of computer researchers at Xerox PARC to "help them integrate their work life with their social concerns." In 1981, Severo Ornstein created an "electronic discussion group on the Xerox internal electronic mail network concerned with the threat of nuclear war."
Severo Ornstein was at the 2005 meeting of the CPSR and he was adamant that "voting systems" needed to be our number one priority. In a nutshell, Severo knows that when it comes to voting systems, just one defect ("bug") is one defect ("bug") too many.
I don't know what technology gurus Ms. Brewer seeks her techno-advice, but if her consultants don't include people such as Bruce Schneier or Peter Neumann or Severo Ornstein (and others), then caution needs to be practiced when it comes to deploying voting systems built using early 21st century technologies.
Voting systems in 2005 are probably "just good enough" in one-sided elections (we get lucky), but they are probably "just bad enough" in close elections. In other words, in a close election, Ms. Brewer and the state of Arizona will have wished they hadn't been so easily insulted.
Creator: Gerald D. Thurman
Created: 13 November 2005