From Washington Post Via ACM

From: Arthur Keller <arthur_at_kellers_dot_org>
Date: Mon Aug 11 2003 - 23:56:01 CDT
"Jolted Over Electronic Voting"
Washington Post (08/11/03) P. A1; Schulte, Brigid

Some U.S. states are having second thoughts about replacing their old
voting machines with electronic systems because of a recent Johns
Hopkins University report that calls the machines' security into
question. Report co-author Avi Rubin, technical director of Johns
Hopkins' Information Security Institute, studied a piece of the
Diebold software source code accidentally left on a public Web site,
and came to the conclusion that adolescents could fashion "smart
cards" that would allow them to vote more than once; furthermore, the
machines could be reprogrammed to alter election results by insiders.
Rubin noted that reconstituting the actual vote is impossible because
there is no paper ballot. The state of Maryland, which signed a
$55.6 million contract for 11,000 touch-screen voting machines from
Diebold, has asked an international computer security company to
evaluate their security. Former electronic voting proponents such as
The Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, which lobbied that new
machines be deployed so that disabled people had an easy way to vote,
now want President Bush and Congress to resolve the security issue.
Other advocates, such as Riverside County, Calif., registrar of
voters Mischelle Townsend, argue that electronic voting machines save
significant sums in paper and have boosted voter turnout; Townsend
adds that any attempts to tamper with such machines would be found
out through intensive testing both before and after elections.
Still, computer experts point out that there have been documented
glitches with electronic voting systems: Some Diebold machines in
Georgia registered votes for the wrong candidates, while a 7,000-vote
error in Alabama was attributed to a system bug. Related issues
computer scientists have raised alarms about include the clandestine
testing the machines undergo before they are certified by the Federal
Election Commission, and a 2001 General Accounting Office report
stating that user friendliness and security are not high priorities
in FEC testing standards.

Arthur M. Keller, Ph.D., 3881 Corina Way, Palo Alto, CA  94303-4507
tel +1(650)424-0202, fax +1(650)424-0424
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Received on Sun Aug 31 23:17:09 2003

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