Penny-slots and DRE voting machines

The recent debacle over allowing voting in casinos at the Nevada democratic primary brings to mind an earlier comparison between gambling and voting. During the height of the Diebold controversy, one of the computer scientists speaking at CFP 2004 pointed out that users of slot-machines have more confidence in the integrity of the machine that users of voting machines. The reason is that gaming commissions in gambling centers such as Las Vegas require the machines to be licensed and certified. This does not make the odds any better necessarily for the players but it means that the machine is designed to deliver exactly those odds posted consistently. No cheating by the house to skew bets, decrease probability of winning for larger amounts, different days of the week etc.

Until recently direct-recording electronic machines had very little oversight and the certification program only provided a cursory look. Case in point: Diebold was de-certified in California just in time for CFP2004 as the above parallel was being drawn.

Putting voting machines in the midst of slots is a fitting juxtaposition.


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