Time to move forward

Published 8:10 pm Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The Selma City Council has done its due diligence by holding a special meeting about the machines slated for use in the upcoming Aug. 26 election.

True, many stories have been written about hackers, or computer experts who get into the machines without permission, and what can happen.

However, as pointed out by ES&S representative Mark Kelley, there’s nothing to hack. The machine has a black box and a power cord. That’s all.

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At least one council member, Reid Cain, raised the issue of hackers using electrical current to tap into the machine.

While that’s a possibility, it is unlikely to happen because there’s no way for the machines to establish a communications network. The voting machine has no communication software or device.

Several years ago, a move in the neighboring state of Mississippi to go to the Diebold touch-screen machine caused some of the same uproar.

Indeed, many vote machine manufacturers, including ES&S, Diebold and Sequoia, had problems with computer experts tapping into the touch-screen machines. Those machines had a serial port, or connection, that would allow a computer to connect and complete some mischief.

Most of Mississippi’s 82 counties moved over to the Diebold touch screens, except two at the time. One was Lee County, Miss. It opted to stay with the ES&S optic scanning machine, very similar to the machine proposed for Selma’s municipal election.

The county administrator (very similar to the probate judge here) said the reason he recommended the ES&S optical scanner was because it was so safe.


At this point, that’s what matters.

The Selma City Council voted in its special meeting Wednesday night to employ several different auditing methods and backups to ensure a fair election for everyone.

Now, it’s time to get on with the process.