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Problems with electronic voter lists

MIT Technology Review reports: What Americans should be most worried about this November, say elections experts like Thad Hall, a political scientist at the University of Utah, is not that someone might hack the Diebold machine they're using to vote--but that their names might disappear from the rolls entirely. According to him, the greatest risks of fraud or disenfranchisement concern voter registration.

As Hall spells out in a report for the IBM Center for Business and Government, voter registration databases are difficult to maintain because there are no electronic standards for creating them. That makes it hard for elections officials to compare their databases with motor-vehicle registries and prison records--let alone other states' elections records.

Earlier this year, the state of Kentucky was sued by its attorney general for attempting to remove 8,000 voters from the rolls--without notifying them--based on a comparison of its database with those in Tennessee and South Carolina, in search of voters registered in multiple states. Hall says that if the state had not been sued, many voters would have been disenfranchised because of database errors.

Until 2002, when Congress passed the Help America Vote Act in response to mistakes made in administering the 2000 presidential election, the federal government had never spent any money on election administration. -- Technology Review: Computerized Voter Registration Databases Need a Major Overhaul

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