-- Brad Friedman
[While I was off the grid for a brief vacation for a week in August, a short Op-Ed version of a piece I wrote for Commonweal Institute, where I am a Fellow, was published at CommonDreams.org. Unfortunately, I was off the grid, so couldn't respond to some of the off-base coments left on the piece over there. In any case, here now is the full-length version of that Op-Ed. -BF]
Last March, the country's highest court found that secret, computerized vote counting was unconstitutional. Unfortunately, the country was Germany, and the Constitution violated by e-voting systems was the one that the U.S. wrote and insisted Germans ratify as part of their terms of surrender following WWII.
- "No 'specialized technical knowledge' can be required of citizens to vote or to monitor vote counts."
- There is a "constitutional requirement of a publicly observed count."
- "[T]he government substitution of its own check or what we’d probably call an 'audit' is no substitute at all for public observation."
- "A paper trail simply does not suffice to meet the above standards.
- "As a result of these principles,...'all independent observers' conclude that 'electronic voting machines are totally banned in Germany' because no conceivable computerized voting system can cast and count votes that meet the twin requirements of...being both 'observable' and also not requiring specialized technical knowledge.
After the verdict in the case --- filed by a computer expert and his political scientist son --- Lehto wondered how it could be that open, observable democracy is seemingly an inviolable right for "conquered Nazis," but not, apparently, for citizens of the United States...