Saturday, July 31, 2004

Miami’s disappearing and reappearing e-voting data 

First Miami-Dade County election officials said the electronic voting records from the 2002 Florida gubernatorial primary were conveniently lost forever due to a computer crash—well, not exactly a crash but a corruption of the wonderful software in their shiny, new ES&S; system—and, alas, there was no backup.

Well, you know how computers are. They crash; software corrupts. It’s too bad that our election officials can’t or won’t grasp that as they go on touting the wonders of e-voting, especially e-voting that leaves no paper trail to conduct pesky recounts. But I digress.

When that brought more howls of protest from the opponents of touchscreen voting, the most miraculous thing occurred yesterday. A disk, which had been tucked somewhere or other in the bowels of the county elections office, was disgorged and on it, lo and behold, was the 2002 data.

But did that satisfy those skeptical ingrates who don’t believe in fairy tales, Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny or the Tooth Fairy, and who oppose paperless voting? Nope!

"There are now more questions than before," Lida Rodriguez-Taseff, chairwoman of the Miami-Dade Election Reform Coalition, told the Orlando Sentinel. "I certainly want the disk, I certainly wish someone would test the original disk they are now claiming they found and determine when that disk was made, where it came from, whether it's been tampered with and if anyone's opened it."

What makes this miraculous find smell so fishy is that the county says it did not have a backup system until last December.

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