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EDITORIAL PANIC ATTACK DECERTIFICATION DOESN'T MEAN ANYTHING'S WRONG WITH INKAVOTE.

L.A. County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky's recommendation not to panic about the decertification of the county's voting system is sound advice.

For one thing, the decertification doesn't mean there's something inherently wrong with Los Angeles' electronic voting system, InkaVote. It means that there could be, but that because of lack of information from the machines' makers, it was unable to be part of Secretary of State Debra Bowen's review of the integrity of the state's electronic voting systems.

And besides, there's no reason that with the cooperation of InkaVote's manufacturers and state officials that the county's voting system can't be recertified in time for the February 2008 presidential primary.

Many have criticized Bowen for decertifying electronic voting systems in 39 counties after she concluded they were vulnerable to hacking. All except L.A. County's system have since been recertified by Bowen, after giving them new security requirements.

The review that led to the decertification was also criticized by those who argued the security tests were conducted in ways that wouldn't likely happen in real life.

The criticism is valid, up to a point. In most scenarios, it isn't likely that a hacker is going to get access to tear into a voting machine's software. Or so we hope. But to a certain extent, it's Bowen's job to zealously guard against voting fraud.

Bowen has made no secret of her concern that electronic voting systems could be hacked. She campaigned on that platform, which resonated with many Californians who worry their votes could be changed with just a flip of a switch.

L.A. County's InkaVote remains decertified and that's because the vendor did not respond to Bowen's request for materials to be part of the voting system review. For its part, the vendor, Election Systems & Software Inc., said it didn't provide all the information because it had questions that were never answered by Bowen's office. Once the review occurs it could turn out that InkaVote is up to the state standards.

Bowen could have handled the review and decertification process better. But this is nothing to panic about, especially if it serves the larger purpose of helping reassure voters about the integrity of electronic voting systems.
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Title Annotation:Editorial
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Article Type:Editorial
Date:Aug 8, 2007
Words:366
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