Letter to the editor

Regarding the voting fiasco: I think the only reason voting has not been

automated before now is because the companies providing the paper ballots

were making too much money (and probably sharing it with those in a position

to change the system).

I think every registered voter should be provided a user ID, a personal

identification number and a verifier (such as mother's maiden name) for

one-time use in voting online. Registered voters should be able to vote

either from home or at a designated polling place. Once a user ID and PIN

are used, the software should reject any further attempts to use them — preventing duplicate or fraudulent votes.

If the system rejects a voter's initial attempt to vote (indicating

a possible fraudulent vote cast by someone else), then the voter should

be able to go to a polling station and verify his or her identity, user

ID and PIN, and have any prior vote made with that user ID and PIN nullified.

The voter would then be able to cast his or her vote on the local machine.

The supervisor at each polling place should be able to nullify a vote only

when the verified voter has independently input his or her verifier word

or name.

By the way, I am a programmer, so I know that it is possible to do all

this. What I haven't figured out, though, is what to do when people forget

their PIN and/or user ID.

Name withheld upon request

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December 19, 2000

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