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Group Pushes Open Source Model For Electronic Voting Machines

Electronic Voting Machines have never been more important or controversial, and there's plenty of skepticism about voting machine integrity. Some see open source software as the solution.

"Electronic voting machines are almost sure to be a problem" in Tuesday's election, said David Mertz, a member of the team at Open Voting Consortium, which advocates making public the source code of voting devices.

As he sees it, the potential problems are most likely to come from innocent mistakes written into the software, Mertz said. By disclosing the source code used in electronic voting machines, Mertz said software bugs could be fixed.

Most voting machine companies won't release source code, because they assert the need to keep it secret for trade secret and other competitive reasons. Mertz said he believes it would be relatively easy, for instance, for a currupt, mid-level machine-company employee to modify source code software to help rig an election.

The other major problem with most of the machines is they generally don't provide a voter-verifiable paper ballot, which could lead to problems where elections are contested, Mertz said.

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