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US's First Internet Votes To Be Cast This Friday 143

Posted by timothy
from the but-counting-commences-thursday dept.
longacre writes "If you thought online voting in America was a distant pipe dream (nightmare?), think again: the nation's first Internet-based voting system goes online this Friday, just days after the release of the Damning Report On Sequoia E-Voting Machine Security we discussed yesterday. In the first real world run of the Okaloosa Distance Ballot Piloting (ODBP) test program, election officials from Okaloosa County, Florida have set up kiosks in Germany, the UK and Japan where 600-700 absentee voters — mostly military personnel — are expected to cast ballots. Security experts still have many questions, of course, particularly on the potential for interception of voting data while it travels across oceans (via 'secure VPN'), the security of the kiosks ('hardened laptops' with no hard drives and other sensitive components disabled) and the security of the three data centers (one of which is itself housed overseas, in Barcelona, Spain), not to mention the fact that Florida doesn't exactly have a stellar record when it comes to vote counting. Florida's Dept. of State also has a fairly detailed outline of ODBP's components and processes [PDF]."
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US's First Internet Votes To Be Cast This Friday

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  • Re:WTF?!?? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by IceCreamGuy (904648) on Wednesday October 22, 2008 @03:56PM (#25473307) Homepage
    Dude, RTFA, even just read the summary, it's not like they pull up a website from their living room and click a fucking "vote here" button, the only place to vote is on secured laptops over a VPN from a specific location. Clearly the big "if" is "if they can do it correctly," however I think the idea that it can't be done is just paranoid and ignorant of the technology discussed in the article.
  • by sumdumass (711423) on Wednesday October 22, 2008 @05:42PM (#25474981) Journal

    They probably has poll workers or a senior officer in charge who gives the person access to it based on their military ID and checks their name off a list so they can only use it once.

  • by Jherek Carnelian (831679) on Wednesday October 22, 2008 @05:47PM (#25475053)

    Without thinking too deeply about it, it seems like even internet voting could make use of paper ballots. The thing to remember is that the best way we've come up with to design an in-person voting machine is to use the computer to make it easy and clear which candidate the user is voting for. But print a paper ballot with those (and just those) selections so that the user can visually verify that the ballot matches their choices with no ambiguity.

    So to do the same with internet voting would require a printer, a camera and at a minimum a clock for each 'internet voting machine.' The user fills out the electronic ballot and then remote end prints the paper ballot in full view of the camera with a clock also in frame with the ballot so that the user can verify the paper ballot reflects their choices. If all is good, the user clicks 'submit' and watches the paper ballot go into the ballot box, if he clicks 'cancel' it goes into the trash and the user goes back to filling out the ballot.

    Now the reason for the clock being on camera too is to raise the bar for replay and impersonation attacks. It certainly isn't fool-proof, but no system of anonymous voting has ever been fool-proof. The goal is simply to make voting fraud en-masse prohibitively expensive. We will always have onsie-twosie fraud, but in the big picture that kind of fraud doesn't usually matter.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 22, 2008 @07:25PM (#25476225)
    In the Florida dispute, there were several news organizations that recounted the votes time and time again. Even the very liberal New York Times declared that Bush won, but all we've heard since then from the Democrats is that Bush "stole" the election. Nothing, I repeat NOTHING, will ever satisfy the Democrats if they don't win. They just can't believe that they could ever lose. With all the Democrat perpetrated voter fraud, a Republican has to get at least 60% of the vote to officially win.
  • Anything that speeds up voting encourages greater participation.

    How long does it take the average voter to cast his or her vote, in your guesstimate? How long has it taken you? From my vague memory, it takes me transportation [2 x 2km by bike] plus five to ten minutes. If you mean to talk about tallying speeds, you're saying that some people go "I could vote, but because I'm going to have the result in $n days instead of... still getting the result in $n days, I'm not going to".

    I don't know much about voter registration in the US [in Denmark, you get a card mailed to you that you hand in at the voting hall in exchange for an empty ballot], but I suspect that this is the real culprit. I remember John Taylor Gatto (.com) say in one of his talks that he sent some of his students (\in K-12) out on the streets handing out voter registration forms. People came running and screaming for them.

    I think the danish system works very well. Voter turnout is still too low in my opinion (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voter_turnout says it's 87%), but at least the bar is fairly low; if people abstain due to apathy or a busy schedule, that's not really something you can fix by forcing them to turn up [and cast a blank vote].

    But I agree with your view; actually, an overarching one: making voting easier makes more people do it.

    If the internet had existed in the time of the founding fathers, I feel sure they would have used it to give the people greater oversight of the legislative process.

    s/legislative process/all of government/. All power must be kept in check.

  • by theaveng (1243528) on Thursday October 23, 2008 @07:47AM (#25480253)

    >>>George Bush: The Republican Jimmy Carter.

    Actually Bush is more like Richard Nixon - an unpopular president during an unpopular war and a crumbling economy.

    BARACK OBAMA will be the next Jimmy Carter - inheriting a royal mess and unable to clean-it-up in just four years time.

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