Hastings Communications and Entertainment Law Journal


Andrew Massey


In the wake of the disastrous 2000 Presidential election, reformers turned to touch-screen electronic voting machines, or DREs, to avoid repeating Florida's experience with endless recounts and hanging chads. As soon as DREs were introduced, however, criticism quickly mounted, focusing on the machines' error-ridden code, inability to perform recounts, and susceptibility to hacking. This note explores how the problems associated with DREs stem directly from their reliance on proprietary source code. This note puts forth the argument that proprietary code place's electronic voting companies' intellectual property rights ahead of the public's need for an accountable and transparent voting system. In addition, this note advocates shifting from proprietary code to publiclytested open source code to make DREs' transparent and accountable.