Washburn's World

My take on the world. My wife often refers to this as the WWW (Weird World of Washburn)

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Location: Germantown, Wisconsin, United States

I am a simple country boy transplanted from the Piehl Township in northern Wisconsin to the Milwaukee metropolitan area who came down "sout" in 1980 for college and have stayed in the area since.
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Friday, March 06, 2009

More on Interim Approval of Voting Systems

I received the response from the Government Accountability Board regarding to my inquiry into the legality of interim approval of voting systems.

The summary is:
  • Approval from the Government Accountability Board is not needed for each change to a voting system fielded in the State of Wisconsin.
  • Changes to fielded voting systems need new approval from the Government Accountability Board only if the staff believes the changes are
    significant enough to warrant a recommendation that the Government Accountability Boar require the manufacturer to submit a new application for appr5oval of the entire voting system containing all modifications
I agree that this approach
balances the interests of conducting accessible elections with requiring re-approval of entire voting systems as a result of minor modifications
I stand by my earlier statement that interim approval is without legal foundation and, in the case of ES&S, there is no way to know if the staff is correct in their assessment of significant because the engineering change order is a trade secret.

I also agree with the staff of the GAB
that the voting system approval process prescribed by statute and code did not contemplate the ongoing updates, engineering change orders and other modifications that incidentally affect the previously approved voting system
This is because the whole central, but false, premise of the voting system approval process is electronic voting systems are stable, well-engineered, well-tested, high-reliability systems which are fit for use in the mission-critical area of election administration.

All evidence from the last ten years (especially that not bought by the manufacturers) shows that no electronic voting system on the market from any vender is stable, well-engineered, well-tested, reliable, or fit for use.

This is the rock and the hard place in which the Government Accountability Board and its staff finds itself in. The approval process assumes electronic voting systems are stable, well-engineered, well-tested, reliable, and fit for use in administering election. The reality is that no electronic system currently on the market (or likely to be on the market in the next 10 years) is stable, well-engineered, well-tested, reliable, or fit for use.

What is the staff and the Board to do, but stretch the statutes and administrative code to the breaking point? The only alternative is to administer elections without electronic voting equipment. Neither clerks nor the public, which demands numbers by the ten o'clock news, will tolerate elections without electronic administration and tabulation.

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