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Counterpunch: Why We Need "Free Software" Voting Machines

Aug 21, 2004, 10:00 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Jeff Nicholson-Owens)

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"Recently the New York Times carried an article by David Pogue endorsing what he called 'open-source' voting machines--electronic voting machines running on software anyone can share and modify. The term 'open-source' comes from the open source movement, a software development methodology which encourages wider dissemination of a computer program's source code (the human-readable version of a program) so that bugs can be fixed faster and with less cost by leveraging the talent of the world's programmers. The sentiment Pogue's article expresses is laudable even if all the details in the article are specious--we do need voting machines we can trust and we need them before we run elections.

"However, you can't make voting machines more trustworthy by making source code to them available. The benefits for sharing and modifying voting machine source code lie elsewhere. The situation with voting machines (and any other publicly-used computer) is different than for computers which you control (like a home computer at your home)..."

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