News from Underground has a priceless posting comparing the steps states take to ensure the accuracy and security of slot machines and e-voting machines. Here are some highlights. Nevada requires vendors of slot machines to provide it access to the machines’ software. By contrast, for most states, the source code for e-voting machines remains safely in the hands of vendors with no right of access provided to election officials or the public. A Nevada agency certifies slot machines, and the public has an opportunity to comment on that certification process. Depressingly, a select number of private companies certify e-voting machines at the vendor’s expense and the certification process is deemed a trade secret. Yes, even the certification process is hidden from public view.
The bottom line: the gaming business is subject to greater transparency and accountability than our voting process. It seems wrong, and a bit shameful, to associate a greater sense of responsibility and accuracy to gambling than voting. We care more about money earned through somewhat licentious means than our fundamental right to pick our elected officials in an accurate and secure manner. That seems to be where we are right now, but I have my hopes for the future. More to come on that in 2009. For now, happy holidays CoOp readers!