From the NYT
After nearly 12 hours of often tense negotiations, Secretary of State John Kerry announced Saturday that Afghanistan would audit all eight million votes cast in a runoff presidential election last month as part of a deal to end a tense power struggle between the top two candidates.
The audit, intended to resolve allegations of widespread fraud, is to begin almost immediately, he said, and will be supervised by international monitors.
The Secretary of State deserves hearty congratulations for reducing tensions in Afghanistan. But this whole scenario -- auditing votes, international monitors, countering allegations of fraud -- reminds me of something that happened on the domestic front. Remember? It happened in Ohio, although not just
in Ohio. It hit us around ten years ago, if memory serves...
I'm talking, of course, about a horror movie that we all lived through -- 2004: A Fraud Odyssey
Remember that one, Mr. Kerry?
A peculiarly American arrogance makes us think that fraud is possible there
but not here
. In 2009, CIA cyber expert Steve Stigall
offered important (and overlooked) testimony about current capabilities:
Stigall told the Election Assistance Commission, a tiny agency that Congress created in 2002 to modernize U.S. voting, that computerized electoral systems can be manipulated at five stages, from altering voter registration lists to posting results.
"You heard the old adage 'follow the money,' " Stigall said, according to a transcript of his hour-long presentation that McClatchy obtained. "I follow the vote. And wherever the vote becomes an electron and touches a computer, that's an opportunity for a malicious actor potentially to...make bad things happen."
So, yeah. Auditing
. Fine idea. Love it.
As this humble blogger and many others tried very hard to point out after the 2004 debacle, paper-free all-electronic vote systems make auditing impossible
Maybe one of these days Kerry will address that issue -- because the only thing that makes an audit possible in today's Afghanistan is that country's lack of electronic voting machines.