Report: E-Voting companies being charged with counting votes
David Edwards and Muriel Kane
Published: Thursday August 21, 2008

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Although many states have rejected electronic voting machines because of their vulnerability to errors and outright fraud, a third of the nation will still be using them this fall.

What's worse, notes CNN's Lou Dobbs, "a new report says election officials often are outsourcing their responsibilities to the very companies that make the e-voting machines, even trusting those companies to count the votes."

That report (pdf) was issued by voting rights group VotersUnite.Org, whose founder Ellen Theisen told CNN, "Elections should be accountable to the people and run by public officials who are selected by the people. ... When that's handed over to private vendors, these public elections are no longer public."

The problem is particularly serious when voting machine companies also tabulate the votes, because the companies own both the equipment and the propriety software which runs it and election officials have no way of double-checking their tally.

The VotersUnite report concludes, "The depth of the current dependence is shocking, but even more shocking is the fact that our elections are dependent on vendors whose records reveal their unethical and even unlawful behavior, as well as their incompetence."

Oklahoma is one state which owns its own voting system and wasn't tempted by the offer of federal funds in 2002 to switch over to a proprietary system. "There was really nothing on the market we would buy then," Michael Clingman of the Oklahoma State Election Board told CNN, "and there's still nothing we would want to buy today."

"Oklahoma is a real piece of America!" Dobbs commented approvingly. "They're telling these silly son-of-a-guns to go stick it -- and they're honoring a commitment to the public."

Dobbs promised to post a list of every state or county that is outsourcing the vote on his Web site.

This video is from CNN's Lout Dobbs Tonight, broadcast August 20, 2008.

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