More electoral chaos coming in US?

E-voting vulnerable to attacks, fraud: expert News Staff

While the words "hanging chads" still seem to make electoral officials in Florida cringe, the new electronic system may not be much better.

Four years ago, the so-called hanging chads and other spoiled paper ballots plunged the U.S. presidential election into chaos.

In an effort to avoid another round of problems, new electronic voting systems have been introduced in Florida and other states.

About 50 million Americans are expected to vote on the touchscreen machines on Nov. 2. Officials insist they have been tested, and can indeed be trusted.

"So with that level of security -- a level of security that no other voting machines or voting process goes through -- people can be comfortable that the machines themselves are safe," industry spokesman Harris Miller told CTV News.

Not everyone agrees.

Prof. Avi Rubin, a computer security expert at John Hopkins University, said he conducted tests that showed how changing even one byte on a removable card could completely change the results of a vote.

And if there is a problem, there is no paper receipt to confirm how someone voted. Nevada is believed to be the only state as of November that will provide a paper record of an electronic vote, according to The Associated Press.

And in what might be the worst case scenario, there are fears about votes being tampered with.

"I'm not sure which is a greater concern -- that the machines will fail, or that they'll be rigged," Rubin said.

As a result of the controversy, record numbers of people are choosing to vote in advance, on paper ballots.

Some doubts about the system were reinforced this week, when testing in Palm Beach County had to be put off due to a technical problem. CTV's cameras were present when the server crashed.

"The reason is one the our hard drives on one of our file servers crashed yesterday afternoon, and the staff has spent all night trying to restore the data," said Theresa Lepore, the county's elections supervisor.

There have also been problems with the touchscreens during voting this year in Georgia, Maryland and California. However, officials maintain that the machines are the answer to the 2000 paper-ballot fiasco.

"If the question is, 'Are we better off than we were in 2000?' We think the answer to that question is certainly 'Yes,'" said Seth Kaplan, a Miami-Dade County election official.

Details about the testing of the machines is kept secret. It is conducted by three companies who refuse to discuss flaws in the ATM-like machines, which are paid for by taxpayers.

The testing firms -- CIBER and Wyle Laboratories in Huntsville and SysTest Labs in Denver -- say they are bound by contract with the makers of the voting machines not to disclose testing information.

E-voting critics have urged companies to publish the voting software online, which would help engineers make hacker-proof software, and thereby restore voter confidence.

But the companies say voters should just trust them.
Reverend Blair
Yeah, just trust them...sure.
This story has been around for a long, long time yet it is only NOW that this appears to be a regular item on mainstream TV.

Three weeks to go and they wake up.

One of the commentators said, they are looking at how the system can be improved upon - not for this election but for further down the road!

HUH? So this election is an accepted write-off?

Similar Threads

Friendly wagers on electoral map
by Kreskin | Oct 27th, 2008
Electoral reform?
by CBC News | Oct 9th, 2007
Electoral College
by jimmoyer | Mar 30th, 2007
Electoral reform?
by atlanticaparty | Feb 18th, 2007
Electoral Reform
by Finder | Jan 30th, 2006
no new posts