Thursday, August 02, 2007

Dude, where's my vote?

One of my earliest posts was about the potential for voting machines to be tampered with. Now its been proven possible in CA:

University of California computer scientists have recently shown it's possible to carry out a bevy of hacks on electronic voting machines currently certified for use in the Golden State.

In reports released late last week, the researchers chronicle their five-week endeavor, at the request of California Secretary of State Debra Bowen, to exploit examine machines made by Hart InterCivic, Sequoia Voting Systems and Diebold. The same models are also in use in many other states, according to a database compiled by the Election Reform Information Project.

Their conclusion? "The security mechanisms provided for all systems analyzed were inadequate to ensure accuracy and integrity of the election results and of the systems that provide those results," wrote principal investigator Matt Bishop, a computer science professor at the University of California, Davis. More

Makes for a strong argument for paper backups even though paper ballots have been known to disappear although I will say that one million electrons are much easier to dispose of than one million voting slips. So whats the solution? There isn't a perfect one. I'm pro paper trails and I'd like for voters to be able to choose a paper ballot if they prefer. I think the only way to truly dissuade tampering with elections would be to make it an act of treason. I know that if I were dictator of America it certainly would be.