Re: CPAN 2 Election Security Testimony in Congress

From: David Mertz <voting-project_at_gnosis_dot_cx>
Date: Thu Jul 08 2004 - 11:57:17 CDT

Update: I managed to program my VCR! So in principle, I have a tape of
the testimony, and can make a copy for someone else who might want to
watch it (or if someone else has better copying equipment, so much the

Seeing it again, it was great that Avi Rubin and Yoshi Kohno (sorry I
misspelled his name before) were quite excellent. Basically, they both
recommended exactly the OVC design, albeit not by name.

On the sad side, "experts" Brit Williams of Kennesaw State University
was pretty awful. It seems like everyone in Georgia is pretty
committed to perpetuating vote fraud (also an elections commission rep
from there). But the truly low point was Michael Shamos, spouting some
of the most despicable sophistry I've heard anywhere. I know some
people here know him, and say he's done good work in the past--about
the only thing I can think of is that someone "got to him" (e.g.
blackmail or a bribe). I'm not saying it is actually so (which might
be libel), just that it is difficult to imagine why he would express
such fundamentally and obviously wrong opinions so strongly.

For example, one of Shamos' arguments was that since no proven past
fraud on DREs had changed an election result, there is no reason not to
accept them. Notice that he did NOT even claim there hadn't been fraud
on DREs, just that it hadn't provably changed the results. Moreover,
he found a mild likelihood of non-fraud to be a sufficient criteria for
using DREs. No concept of risks whatsoever. To make an analogy
prompted not so long ago by the US administration: would a probability
that terrorists lack nukes be enough reason not to worry about the
issue? Or would the fact they've never been used before be a blanket
absolution of any concern?! (not that I believe that such concerns
justify the specific actions of this US administration, but the general
principle is the same).

Depressing, depressing stuff, overall.
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Received on Sat Jul 31 23:17:11 2004

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