Monday, October 23, 2006

Use. Paper.

Yet another report out about how vulnerable electronic voting machines are to hackers.

But ABC News has obtained an independent report commissioned by the state of Maryland and conducted by Science Applications International Corporation revealing that the original Diebold factory passwords are still being used on many voting machines.

The SAIC study also shows myriad other security flaws, including administrative over-ride passwords that cannot be changed by local officials but can be used by hackers or those who have seen the discs.

The report further states that one of the high risks to the system comes if operating code discs are lost, stolen or seen by unauthorized parties — precisely what seems to have occurred with the discs sent to Kagan, who worries that the incident indicates the secret source code is not that difficult to obtain.

"Certainly, just tweaking a few votes in a couple of states could radically change the outcome of our policies for the coming year," she said.

Gee, ya think?

This has been a known problem for at least two years now. The fact that Diebold is still denying that a problem exists does little to enhance their credibility.

The solution is simple: a verifiable paper ballot that can be counted as a backup system. It's a step Diebold has fought tooth and nail.

I'm at the point where I think any vote conducted by electronic voting with no paper trail should be presumed to be fraudulent if the outcome is even remotely close -- say, within 10 or 15 percentage points.

Republicans rail about voter fraud and push through photo ID requirements for voting -- not coincidentally, a move expected to depress Democratic turnout. But they seem to be resistant to doing something about potential hacking of the voting machines themselves, a more equal-opportunity vulnerability.

Both are flaws that need fixing. This is not about partisan politics; it's about ensuring the integrity of the voting process.

If the security of the new machines cannot be established in time, they should not be used for the Nov. 7 vote.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Diebold...the company run by a man who said in 2004 that he was "committed to helping Ohio deliver its electoral votes to the president next year."

10/23/2006 4:19 PM  

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