While the machines did the job very well, they were found to be
- short of perfect and
- had no audit trail.
Perfection is the enemy of progress.
If we require perfection, no improvement can ever be made.
- Apple would never have introduced the Graphical User Interface that is now the basis of all personal computers, because this system has still to be perfected and
- Microsoft would never have implemented Windows, which is still subject to ongoing improvement and
- No project would ever come off the planning stage.
The question that should have asked of the electronic voting machines is:
- are they an improvement on the previous system?
- They were quicker: result in two hours instead of several days.
- They were more accurate: preferences were actually counted and not guessed, and
- they were much, much, much more reliable: boxes did not go missing or hide under tables.
As to the Audit Trail:
Every PC I have ever had has a "Print Screen" button that takes a picture of what I see on my screen. It would not have been a technically difficult thing for electronic voting machines to "Print a Screen" of every completed ballot paper. The images of the printed screens could, then, be rechecked if this was ever required: Actually rechecked, and not the farcical pretence of a recheck or recount that now occurs.
So, the machines were not perfect. They should not have been scrapped, but extended to all elections in the country. Meanwhile, upgrades should have been sought and the imperfections reduced in the second and subsequent generations, as happens with every other computer system you have ever met.
Reviving the electronic voting now, we should shift, of course, to Web-based voting. Polling at Internet Cafés or from your home. God knows we have multiple security systems for ensuring that identities are checked.