Election Day Storm Clouds: Is Your Vote Being Counted?

Election Day Storm Clouds: Is Your Vote Being Counted?

Electronic voting machines are a controversial topic. They really should not be, but due to the inept implementation of this method of voting by vendors like Diebold and Sequoia, there are serious questions about their accuracy and resilience to fraud. In 2005, Bruce Schneier wrote of some of the problems at http://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2004/ 11/the_problem_wit.html In January

Electronic voting machines are a controversial topic. They really should not be, but due to the inept implementation of this method of voting by vendors like Diebold and Sequoia, there are serious questions about their accuracy and resilience to fraud. In 2005, Bruce Schneier wrote of some of the problems at http://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2004/ 11/the_problem_wit.html In January

Electronic voting machines are a controversial topic. They really should not be, but due to the inept implementation of this method of voting by vendors like Diebold and Sequoia, there are serious questions about their accuracy and resilience to fraud.

In 2005, Bruce Schneier wrote of some of the problems at http://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2004/
11/the_problem_wit.html

In January 2008 the New York Times ran another article http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/06/magazine/
06Vote-t.html
. In fact, at http://nytimes.com/ref/opinion/making-votes-count.html?pagewanted=all> there is an archive of problems with electronic voting machines.

Some states have effectively outlawed electronic voting machines due to these problems.

Consider that the space shuttle used computers less powerful than those on our desktops 10 years ago. They didn’t need powerful computers, they had computers that were simple and designed for a specific purpose and for high reliability. There is a lesson to be learned here.

Quite frankly, the companies making the electronic voting machines are less interested in the security of our democracy than NASA is in the lives of the astronauts.

With 4 years since the last election to get things right, it is obvious that the vendors of electronic voting machine shave been sitting on their profits instead of increasing reliability. See http://www.computerworld.com/action/article.do?command=viewArticleBasic&articleId=9118983
&intsrc=hm_ts_head
for up-to-date issues with electronic voting machines.

If electronic voting machines are to be properly implemented, they will have to use dedicated hardware and securely-hardened software, both for the voting and for the tabulation of the results. When that day comes, electronic voting machines may finally be secure enough to justify using them.

Is your vote being counted? It is impossible to tell if you use the current generation of electronic voting machines. That said, traditional voting methods have also always been susceptible to fraud as well.

For more on the topic, I have recorded a podcast titled “How Safe Are Electronic Voting Machines?” 

Randy Abrams
Director of Technical Education

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