Editorials: Challenging the market power of one voting machine maker | Sean Flaherty/Iowa City Press Citizen
I am co-chairman of Iowans for Voting Integrity, a nonpartisan citizen group that works for voting systems worthy of the public trust. We have worked for six years for two reforms that both we and many of the world’s leading computer technologists consider essential to fair elections: First, we believe that all computer voting systems must provide a reliable paper record of every ballot cast, and Second, we believe that following every election, election officials should routinely conduct a manual tally of a sample of cast ballots to check against electronic tallies. This column revisits an issue well-known both to the small community of advocates and technology experts who work on electronic voting issues and to an untold number of conspiracy theorists around the nation, but largely unknown outside those communities. This issue is the centralized marked power of the nation’s leading vendor of election equipment and services, Election Systems and Software (ES&S), and the opacity of ES&S’s ownership. I’d like to share some highly judicious and disturbing comments about ES&S that I heard June 7 at a reading at Prairie Lights by University of Iowa computer scientist Douglas Jones. Along with his co-author Barbara Simons, Jones recently published an important book, “Broken Ballots.” The reading was livestreamed on the Internet, and and audio archive should be available soon.