Vote flipping and the business of voting machines

Peeks into the business of voting machine development are rare, which is why this Computerworld article (“Are design issues to blame for vote ‘flipping’ in touch-screen machines?”) is so valuable.  Among the more interesting, and disappointing, quotes is this one, about DREs:

[Chris] Riggall [spokesman for Premier Election Solutions] said he isn’t familiar with the design history behind the machines, but noted that new models aren’t being designed now because optical-scanning systems that use paper ballots are growing in popularity. More states are moving to optically scanned paper ballots because they offer a paper trail of every vote cast in case a recount is needed.

Since new touch-screen machines aren’t being designed, no usability studies are being done to improve existing designs, he said. [emphasis added]

While DREs are declining, they aren’t going to disappear, so the idea that product improvement isn’t continuing in this environment is yet another indication about how the voting machine business model makes it difficult to deliver technologies that meet the (conflicting) demands of the American electoral system.