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 Says Machines Should be Decertified! Also Says So-Called 
'Voter Verified Paper Audit Trails (VVPAT) Should Not Be 
Used' in Voting Systems!
 Posted By Brad On 29th November 2006 @ 14:37 In Election 
Reform, Voting System Certification | 15 Comments
 Huge news. Michael Hickins of has the 
scoop [1]. Here are the highlights…
 A federal agency is set to recommend significant changes 
to specifications for electronic-voting machines next 
week, has learned. 
 The National Institute of Standards and Technology 
(NIST) is recommending that the 2007 version of the 
Voluntary Voting Systems Guidelines (VVSG) decertify 
direct record electronic (DRE) machines.
 According to an NIST paper to be discussed at a meeting 
of election regulators at NIST headquarters in 
Gaithersburg, Md., on Dec. 4 and 5, DRE vote totals 
cannot be audited because the machines are not software 
 In other words, there is no means of verifying vote 
tallies other than by relying on the software that 
tabulated the results to begin with. 
 The machines currently in use are "more vulnerable to 
undetected programming errors or malicious code," 
according to the paper [2]. 
 The NIST paper also noted that, "potentially, a single 
programmer could 'rig' a major election."
 This is a tremendously important development!
 To be clear, the National Institute of Standards and 
Technology (NIST) is the group that oversees the 
formulation of the so-called federal "Voting Systems 
Standards". Those are the standards, such that there are 
any, which are in effect today at the federal level to 
determine federal certification of voting systems. NIST 
hosts the Technical Guidelines Development Committee for 
the U.S. Election Assistance Commission and they are the 
body who developed the current standards now in use. This 
report will likely have an enormous impact in shaping 
whatever may happen next concerning any upcoming Election 
Reform or legislation in DC.
 But wait, it gets even better!…
 [3]Apropos of an article here at BRAD BLOG earlier today 
[4], in which we tried to make clear that paper trails on 
touch-screen machines (versus paper ballots as used with 
optical-scan or hand-counted systems) are not an adequate 
solution to the nation's — or even Florida 13's — current 
voting dysfunction, NIST agrees that paper trails don't 
cut it:
 The NIST is also going to recommend changes to the 
design of machines equipped with paper rolls that provide 
audit trails. 
 Currently, the paper rolls produce records that are 
illegible or otherwise unusable, and NIST is recommending 
that "paper rolls should not be used in new voting 
 …And, of course, BRAD BLOG [5] Guest Blogger and 
erstwhile election watchdog/champion John Gideon of [6] — previously a supporter of the 
so-called Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) 
"solution", such as the one which would be standardized 
by Rep. Rush Holt's HR550 election reform legislation — 
now concurs that VVPAT on touch-screen and DRE systems is 
no longer a viable option.
 Joining a growing group of folks who have changed their 
view on this point in the wake of the various disasters 
of 2006's Election Meltdown, he's quoted by Hickins 
 Many former advocates of VVPAT, including John Gideon, 
executive director of VotersUnite, now favor requiring 
that all votes be recorded on paper ballots. 
 "DREs are unacceptable as voting devices and … the 
addition of a VVPAT on a DRE is only a placebo to make 
some voters feel more comfortable," Gideon said in an 
First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they 
fight you, then you win…?
 Stay tuned. 
 URLs in this post:
 [1] has the scoop:
 [2] paper:
 [3] Image:
 [4] article here at BRAD BLOG earlier today: