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LETTERS TO THE TIMES

New Voting Machines Have Potential Pitfalls

May 11, 2003

Re "O.C. May Soon Have High-Tech Voting," April 29:

Electronic voting is long overdue, but the current approach is bound for disaster. Currently all of the voting machine manufacturers claim that their software is "proprietary" and not subject to review by the government. Voting machines will become the tools of our democracy. They must be accurate and reliable because our freedom is at stake.

Under the current process, there is only one source of a "valid" vote, the tally from the machines. If there is a question, there is no physical evidence that can be used for a recount. Under the current program, even a paper system generated by the machine is not allowed to be used for a hand recount.

There are hundreds of versions of ballot databases to be created for each election due to differences in congressional, Assembly, Senate and local district candidates. Verifying that each of these databases is 100% bug-free is absolutely essential. The current law does not certify this. It is left to the sole control of the voting machine manufacturer. This is a formula for disaster.

Richard Gillock

Costa Mesa

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