A judge in Florida ruled yesterday that it was more important to keep the trade secrets than to examine the electronic voting machines. In this race currently decided by less than 400 votes there were around 18,000 ballots that had voted on other races but did not register a vote on the congressional race. This seems more than a little strange by itself and opening up the code of the machines to test them for errors or tampering might allow this close race to be sorted out. However, the judge decided that it was merely conjecture that there were problems with the machines and ruled to protect the trade secrets of the manufacturer.
The expectation that someone could produce evidence of tampering or problems with the voting machines without having access to the workings of the machines itself is an absurdly high standard. Sadly, if there was tampering with the machines it is reasonable to expect that someone who had access to the machines prior to the election had access to them after the election as well. There has been testing on the machines so it isn’t as though they have been sealed up somewhere the whole time
Electronic voting has some real issues to get people to trust that it is a valid means of determining elections. Sealing up the processes by protecting trade secrets is not the way to get people to believe in this system.
Thank you again, Florida, for showing the rest of the world how not to run an election.