Earlier today a group of e-voting "solution" vendors issued a bizarre preemptive press statement asserting that 1.) today's election demonstrates that there are few problems with e-voting machines, and 2.) if there are problems, the voters are to blame:
"Reports from electronic voting machine vendors and media coverage today indicate that electronic voting machines are recording Americans' votes efficiently and effectively," ITAA President Harris N. Miller said. "Media reports are focused primarily on long lines and other problems related to high voter turnout. Electronic voting machine issues that have been cited are related to human error, process missteps or unsubstantiated reports. In all cases, the issues related to electronic voting machine performance have been quickly resolved."
Just in time to the counter the spin, EFF and the Verified Voting Foundation (VVF) held a joint press tele-conference to discuss the many problems voters experienced today -- and recorded the conference, available here [MP3 format] and here [OGG format].
Participants were EFF's Cindy Cohn, Matt Zimmerman, and Ren Bucholz, VVF's Will Doherty and David Dill, Joe Hall of the University of California in Berkeley, and Princeton computer science professor Ed Felten. Among the topics we discussed:
1.) problems including "touchy" touch-screen machines -- e.g., machines that "light up" for the wrong candidate in the summary screen; machines failing and polling officials running out of paper ballots, as they did in New Orleans; and Sequoia machines showing a "default" choice that voters must correct;
2.) which states appear to have had the most trouble and how to analyze the reports from the Election Incident Reporting System (EIRS);
3.) how to understand the elections data gathered on Election Day in the context of past elections; and
4.) why a paper audit trail may be the best solution for some of the problems that are coming up, especially as we head into vote tallying later this evening.