<\body> Stories in America: Will Your Vote Count in November?

Monday, May 22, 2006

Will Your Vote Count in November?

All electronic voting machines should be banned. I would rather wait a week or more to find out who won rather than wonder if the votes were accurately counted or even tampered with. Yes, we have short attention spans and a news cycle on speed, but we don't need to know the winner just hours after the polls close.

Years ago I attended an online security conference and will never forget what one of Microsoft's top security guys said: I can break into any electronic system. No system is a secure system.

This is from Newsweek. I'm glad the national media is raising these questions:
Just when you thought it was safe to go back into the voting booth, here comes more disturbing news about the trustworthiness of electronic touchscreen ballot machines. Earlier this month a report by Finnish security expert Harri Hursti analyzed Diebold voting machines for an organization called Black Box Voting. Hursti found unheralded vulnerabilities in the machines that are currently entrusted to faithfully record the votes of millions of Americans.

How bad are the problems? Experts are calling them the most serious voting-machine flaws ever documented. Basically the trouble stems from the ease with which the machine's software can be altered. It requires only a few minutes of pre-election access to a Diebold machine to open the machine and insert a PC card that, if it contained malicious code, could reprogram the machine to give control to the violator. The machine could go dead on Election Day or throw votes to the wrong candidate. Worse, it's even possible for such ballot-tampering software to trick authorized technicians into thinking that everything is working fine, an illusion you couldn't pull off with pre-electronic systems. "If Diebold had set out to build a system as insecure as they possibly could, this would be it," says Avi Rubin, a Johns Hopkins University computer-science professor and elections-security expert.


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