Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Report: Voting Machines NOT Tamper Proof

A Single Person Could Swing an Election
Electronic Systems' Weaknesses May Be Countered With Audits, Report Suggests
By Zachary A. Goldfarb
Wednesday, June 28, 2006; Page A07

To determine what it would take to hack a U.S. election, a team of cybersecurity experts turned to a fictional battleground state called Pennasota and a fictional gubernatorial race between Tom Jefferson and Johnny Adams. It's the year 2007, and the state uses electronic voting machines.

Jefferson was forecast to win the race by about 80,000 votes, or 2.3 percent of the vote. Adams's conspirators thought, "How easily can we manipulate the election results?"

The experts thought about all the ways to do it. And they concluded in a report issued yesterday that it would take only one person, with a sophisticated technical knowledge and timely access to the software that runs the voting machines, to change the outcome.

The report, which was unveiled at a Capitol Hill news conference by New York University's Brennan Center for Justice and billed as the most authoritative to date, tackles some of the most contentious questions about the security of electronic voting.

Republican Reps. Tom Cole (Okla.) and Thomas M. Davis III (Va.), chairman of the House Government Reform Committee, joined Rep. Rush D. Holt (D-N.J.) in calling for a law that would set strict requirements for electronic voting machines. Howard Schmidt, former chief of security at Microsoft and President Bush's former cybersecurity adviser, also endorsed the Brennan report.

It's not a question of 'if,' it's a question of 'when,' " Davis said of an attempt to manipulate election results.

When is correct. I've been discussing this possibility off and on for over a year now. Auditing is good but ballot confirmation printouts are the best way to protect our nation. And its good to see that something is finally being done to prevent tampering.