Over at his weblog, my friend Jim Roepcke posts an interesting comparison of the regulations governing slot machines and those over electronic voting machines. It’s pretty sobering, and makes The Onion’s story on the election results being released in advance look alarmingly plausible.
It’s absolutely ridiculous that software that does something as straightforward as polling should be a trade secret. As a software engineer who has worked extensively with both software that is kept a closely guarded secret and that which has its source code open and available for anybody to look at, I would certainly be much more comfortable with the latter being used in a process that needs to be open and accountable. There is an army of interested geeks who would be combing through the voting machine code, making sure everything worked properly and was secure, if only they were able.