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No Election-Data Backups!

On Wednesday, July 28, 2004, Abby Goodnough of the New York Times wrote ...

"Almost all the electronic records from the first widespread use of touch-screen voting in Miami-Dade County have been lost...The records disappeared after two computer system crashes last year, county elections officials said, leaving no audit trail for the 2002 gubernatorial primary. A citizens group uncovered the loss this month after requesting all audit data from that election."

All across the county, election officials are disregarding the warnings of computer experts and purchasing paperless computerized voting systems.

Meanwhile, some don't even back up the election data.

They think they are more qualified than computer experts to evaluate the reliability of computerized voting equipment, but some don't even know to back up their irreplaceable election data.

Particularly interesting is the fact that the data was lost in TWO crashes. Did the data survive the first crash and get erased by the second one? If so, didn't anyone think to back up the data after the first crash?

Or maybe some of the data was lost in the first crash and some in the second. If so, didn't anyone think to back up the data after the first crash?

"A county official said a new backup system would prevent electronic voting data from being lost in the future. ... the backup system was added last December."

Finally, after over a year of requiring Miami-Dade County citizens to trust democracy to computers, finally they think to back up the election data.

You might expect this in Palm Beach County, since Theresa LaPore doesn't think electronic voting machines are computers, but it's surprising in Miami-Dade, where they know the iVotronics are computers. They know because they found bugs in the software bugs they made public a year after the fact, only because they were forced to by the Miami-Dade Reform Coalition.

How many elections were held in Miami-Dade on this buggy software, while the election officials were telling constituents to trust them?

Meanwhile, they weren't even backing up the election data.

What problems might surface in other counties across the United States if citizen groups filed public records requests for memos and audit data? It's scary, isn't it, to think how much some other DRE election officials might know about the flaws, bugs, and data disasters in their systems, while they are continuing to defend them and requiring us to trust them.

Perhaps there is a valid reason Riverside County is refusing to hand over its audit data in response to a citizen request. Maybe the data isn't available.

 

The greater the ignorance,
the greater the dogmatism.
~ William Osler
 
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