Nov 4, 2022

New Hampshire Set To Pilot Voting Machines That Use Open-Source Software


The software that runs voting machines is typically distributed in a kind of black box — like a car with its hood sealed shut. Because the election industry in the U.S. is dominated by three companies — Dominion, Election Systems & Software and Hart InterCivic — the software that runs their machines is private. The companies consider it their intellectual property and that has given rise to a roster of unfounded conspiracy theories about elections and their fairness. New Hampshire’s experiment with open-source software is meant to address exactly that. The software by its very design allows you to pop the hood, modify the code, make suggestions for how to make it better, and work with other people to make it run more smoothly. The thinking is, if voting machines run on software anyone can audit and run, it is less likely to give rise to allegations of vote rigging. 

The effort to make voting machines more transparent is the work of a group called VotingWorks. […] On November 8, VotingWorks machines will be used in a real election in real time. New Hampshire is the second state to use the open-source machines after Mississippi first did so in 2019. Some 3,000 voters will run their paper ballots through the new machines, and then, to ensure nothing went awry, those same votes will be hand counted in a public session in Concord, N.H. Anyone who cares to will be able to see if the new machines recorded the votes correctly. The idea is to make clear there is nothing to hide. If someone is worried that a voting machine is programmed to flip a vote to their opponent, they can simply hire a computer expert to examine it and see, in real time.

Comment by Dick Eastman:

I am a big fan of Open Source software. I have lots of Open Source software installed on my computers (including the software I am using to post this message). The big advantage of Open Source software is that it is easily auditable and verifiiable by anyone who cares to do so. Use of Open Source software should resolve all the problems caused by “the big lie” in the 2020 U.S. election.

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