A few California newspapers are reporting the results of a Field Poll about confidence in e-voting and the election. Some of the results are striking. 35% of registered Californian voters are not confident in the integrity of new touchscreen voting machines. (23% are very confident, and 39% are somewhat confident.) When asked about their confidence that the final election result will be fair, 30% are very confident, 42% are somewhat confident, and 18% are not confident.
That is surprisingly large degree of distrust. Of course, we should remember that this only reflects voter perception of election integrity, not the reality of the security of the election. Just as widespread confidence in e-voting among the public does not necessarily mean that e-voting is safe, so too widespread public skepticism does not necessarily mean that e-voting is unsafe. Nonetheless, perception is important. It is crucial that we have election technology that is not only trustworthy, but that is also recognized as such, and indeed is widely trusted by the overwhelming majority of the population. This survey suggests that we have not met any of these goals.
If you’d like to learn more about the survey, you can read the Sacramento Bee’s article and the San Francisco Chronicle’s article, but why not go straight to the source? The Field Poll has the survey results online here:
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