The Washington Post has an article about the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation report on VVPATs. The facts that the Post pulls from the report–VVPAT requirements result in technology lock, that VVPAT problems can result in differences between paper and electronic totals, and that newer DREs are needed–are not surprising, new, or disputable.
Perhaps the most utterly ironic funny quote, however, is this
“It is important that the [voting] mechanism is understandable and trusted by the population as well as correct and auditable by experts. Systems based on … cryptographic methods are not understandabLe to the lay person — and especially not to technophobic ones. Paper is well understood.”
Alas, paper is well understood; unfortunately, the entire debate today ignores what we know about paper. We know that paper is susceptible to problems. Moreover, paper ballots are no more auditable than machines from the voter’s vantage point and in fact are less so. A voter casting a ballot using optical scan has no way of knowing that their vote was counted, counted accurately, or was “remade”. At least with a VVPAT, you have the possibility of looking at the paper ballot before you cast your vote.
The last time I read the Holy bill–before the House decided that lever machines were immune from rigging and were voter-verifiable–the irony was that a voter in an optical scan county would possbility have grounds to sue because they would have no voter-verifiability in precincts.