43_Everyone Counts

Business builds a better ballot

Voting scandals are the failing of American democracy, from hanging chads and "lost" votes in Florida to recounts that never seem to agree. Lori J. Steele, CEO of Everyone Counts in San Diego, California, has found a better way: Her company's software encryption can store votes electronically as it protects voters' identities, makes the results auditable as well as accurate, and allows for telephone and Internet voting. Everyone Counts is now a finalist in the bidding for a contract to roll out this technology in the UK. If all goes well, it will be adopted for London's city elections in 2008 and Europe's national elections in 2009. Meanwhile, the U.S. Congress has given the Pentagon until May to come up with a plan for e-voting for troops abroad, and the Democratic National Committee is looking to add Internet voting to increase primary turnout. Steele aspires to make Everyone Counts the voting standard everywhere. "Congress," she says, "needs to open this up to entrepreneurial people who are passionate about fixing problems."