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Hackers, Public Differ Greatly On E-voting 369

cweditor writes "Sorry to be touting one of my own Computerworld stories, but I only covered it because I found it so interesting. The Ponemon Institute surveyed 2,933 members of the general public and then 100 DEFCON and Black Hat attendees to get their views on electronic voting. 'The degree of difference was startling,' said director Larry Ponemon. It was the biggest split between 'experts and the public he'd ever found. For example, 83% of the experts said e-voting is less or much less secure against election tampering than paper ballots, compared with just 19% of the general public."
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Hackers, Public Differ Greatly On E-voting

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  • Imagine that. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by 2names ( 531755 ) on Friday August 06, 2004 @03:51PM (#9902404)
    The experts know more than the general public. Will wonders never cease?
    • Re:Imagine that. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by lazyl ( 619939 ) on Friday August 06, 2004 @04:09PM (#9902653)
      Yeah, but how much do these 'experts' know about how secure paper ballots really are? They should also interview a third group: those who are experts in the paper system.
      • A Most Excellent point. I worked in the elections/vote counting business for several years and designed the electronics and optics for a high speed ballot counter. The elections business is a very specialized business with a hell of a lot to know besides how to write programs.
        • Well then, what's your opinion if you were taking the poll yourself? Do you feel e-voting will be more accurate, etc.? Or do you agree with the software experts?
        • Re:Imagine that. (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Phisbut ( 761268 ) on Friday August 06, 2004 @04:30PM (#9902944)
          Sometimes, the old fashioned way is the best way. We had a federal election a couple of months ago in Canada, and it was all paper & pens.

          People could come from 9AM to 9PM to take the piece of paper, go behind the curtain over there, mark the paper with the pen (make an X in a cirle next to the one you want to vote for... not all that complicated), and put the little piece of paper in the sealed box.

          At the end of the day, human beings opened the sealed boxes, with several witnesses (at least one representative of each party, plus other government officials), and hand-counted each ballot. Take one paper, show it to everybody, add 1 to the score of the guy on that ballot, put the ballot in a pile. Repeat the process about 500 times per box, for each of the thousands and thousands of boxes around the country. The whole process of counting takes about an hour, and there's very very few occurences of a party requiring a recount, because everything has been done in front of at least 10 witnesses.

          Where's the need for all that electronic voting stuff? Maybe it goes faster, and maybe the paper-way requires the hiring of more people (thus costing more in salaries), but consider the cost of buying the electronic stuff, then the cost of all the judicial stuff that happens because votes are missing or something got hacked or so.

          Go back to plain ol' paper & pens, and let democracy reign.

          • Re:Imagine that. (Score:4, Insightful)

            by xTown ( 94562 ) on Friday August 06, 2004 @04:35PM (#9902994)
            Amen to that. I've always been of the opinion that the requirement for speed of counting has been a detriment to the entire process. For something as important as voting...we can wait. And with paper and pen, there's almost no chance to misinterpret a vote.
          • We had a federal election a couple of months ago in Canada, and it was all paper & pens.

            Untrue. My local polling station used pencils rather than pens.
      • Re:Imagine that. (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward
        The key is that as long as physical security is maintained, the paper ballots can always be recounted, manually if needed, and the process can be manually validated by observers.

        Thus any weaknesses with paper ballots is entirely a process issue (how physical security is maintained, and how one counts the votes and the requirements to request a recount), while with electronic voting there are significant technical issues to come across.

        The only safe electronic voting system is one where the system prints

      • by Ungrounded Lightning ( 62228 ) on Friday August 06, 2004 @05:01PM (#9903344) Journal
        Yeah, but how much do these 'experts' know about how secure paper ballots really are? They should also interview a third group: those who are experts in the paper system.

        I think a more telling question is: What "Paper Balots" did John Q Public think he was comparing to the e-voting systems?

        And as usual we have a "game of telephone" going on here:

        - We don't KNOW what the actual question on the survey was.
        - The Computerworld article said "traditional paper ballot machines". (Maybe that was what was actually in the question. Let's assume it for the moment.)
        - But when the Computerworld article's own author posted it to slashdot, he warped it to "Paper Ballots". And this thread is following his lead.

        Now you and I know that paper ballots - the ones with the square boxes with hand-drawn Xes - are subject to some tampering, but it's hard to do it without leaving tracks, while a purely electronic systems is subject to all sorts of invisible breakdowns, from mechanical problems, software bugs, and malicious tampering.

        But if you're talking "traditional paper ballot machines" you just completely dropped that system. Now you're talking about either punchcards, or optical mark sense systems.

        What experience does John Q. have with either?

        With punched cards, his sole reference point on reliability is the media storm over the presidential election in Florida. You know - the one where the democrats are STILL claiming the Republicans stole the election. Optical sense cards are subject to mis-scanning. Both can be hit by operational irregularities (such as not running one stack through while running another through twice.) Both are subject to cheating by replacement of physical ballots (as are all the other systems except e-voting without printed audit trail). Both are subject to exactly the same opportunities for accidental or malicious corruption of the vote counting hardware and software.

        (And don't even get me STARTED on mechanical voting machines...)

        So why SHOULD John Q. think that the e systems AREN'T better than the "traditional paper ballot MACHINES" - whose software has had more time for malicious bug injection and whose hardware and operational systems have been the subject of a recent major scandal?

        IMHO John Q. may be right: All the objections except lack of an audit trail apply to the other paper ballot MACHINE systems, and they also have a better opportunity for misreading through mechanical failure or "user error" than the e systems. And since the audit trail is rarely checked, who's to say that the elections haven't been corrupted for decades.

        IMHO the important thing about this flap is that it could lead to a less corruptable counting system than we've had since I became eligible to vote back in the '60s. The extra opportunity for unchecked vote corruption has lead to a move to eliminate the problem with the new machines by adding an audit trail, and to regular random surveilance of that audit trail. This, combined with the lower MECHANICAL error rate of the systems and the redundant counting mechanism will set a new, higher standard for the OLDER systems, and should lead to a much more accurate count.

        Then, if we move on to eliminating the OTHER sources of election corruption (ineligible voters, multiple registrations, etc.), we might actually come up with fair and accurate elections within what remains of my lifetime. B-)
    • Re:Imagine that. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by aardvarkjoe ( 156801 ) on Friday August 06, 2004 @04:10PM (#9902681)
      What makes it even less informative is that these "experts" are not experts in the field that's being discussed. The numbers would at least be interesting if they had actually used experts knowledgable about voting security.
    • Re:Imagine that. (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      The point isn't that the experts know more. The point is that it's unusual that the general public is so far away from the "expert" opinion on this particular topic. While experts usually have deeper insight why something is like it is and often have more differentiated views, normally the gist makes it to the general public as well, leaving a smaller gap between expert opinion and public opinion.
    • > The experts know more than the general public. Will wonders never cease?

      The politicians tell the media what to tell the public, and the public believes what they're told to believe.

      Who are you gonna believe? A trustworthy representative of your interests, or one of those hackers who makes your PC crash all the time?

      You're right. No big surprise there either.

      At least those of us who value our continued existence know how to answer pollsters: "Yes, e-voting is secure." (Anyone who says otherw

    • They also know more than certain senators [].
  • by boschmorden ( 610937 ) on Friday August 06, 2004 @03:52PM (#9902406)
    ...but were those polled by e-voting machines? :)
    • Yes, they were polled using E-voting machines, but the gov't and the black box vendors don't want individuals to know what the rest of the public is thinking.

      So they just skewed it a little bit to keep all the sheep happy.

      I mean isn't that what gov't is for?....Scare them senseless, then take away the fear....Until their minds are mush and they stop thinking for themselves, and just bask in the hellish blue glare of FoxNews/CNN/MSNBC and

  • Ya Think? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by darth_MALL ( 657218 ) on Friday August 06, 2004 @03:52PM (#9902416)
    What data or insider knowledge does Joe Public have about how this wouldn't be secure? I think they assume its simplified and therefore more secure.
    • Re:Ya Think? (Score:2, Interesting)

      by lannocc ( 568669 )
      Alternatively, what data or insider knowledge does Joe "Expert" have about the current paper process? They should have interviewed a third group of people as well: those who are "experts" in p-voting.
    • Good point.

      Maybe we not-so-happy few ought to raise a bigger stink about about this so that the major media news outlets will start reporting on the issues, instead of pandering to Brittney Spears' publicist.

      If the general public isn't informed, they're not gonna care, and just about all of the articles/commentaries/rants I've seen about the dangers of electronic voting thus far have been on sites such as /., which, let's face it, aren't exactly high on Joe Sixpack's Favorites list.

    • What data or insider knowledge does Joe Public have about how this wouldn't be secure?

      I don't necessarily think it's about data or insider knowledge- maybe just some general understanding of computers. Maybe not even much. I know that when I first heard about the idea of e-voting (not even any specific application), I thought, "We're headed for trouble!" Why? Because, yes, the fact that it's electronic means it's easy to count the votes, but it also means it's easier to tamper with the votes without de

  • by YankeeInExile ( 577704 ) * on Friday August 06, 2004 @03:53PM (#9902432) Homepage Journal

    Electronic Voting is a solution in search of a problem.

    Why this fetish for applying complicating technology to simple problems?

    • M-o-n-e-y

      Voting machine pushers are rich and politically well-connected (especially, apparently, with Republicans; or perhaps that's just Diebold.)
    • I guess the idea is that these "technological wonders" will prevent the chaos that surrounded the Floria polls in 2000 from re-occuring.

      However, we need to ask: Is the re-count the problem itself, or a symptom?
    • To borrow from a certain demotivational poster []...

      "If you're not part of the solution, there's good money to be made in prolonging the problem."
    • Clearly accurate counting of votes is not a simple problem. Witness Florida 2000.

      There are simple things that could be done to make E-voting much better. Like print outs of selections in case of recounts. God forbid Diebold try that.
    • Electronic Voting is a solution in search of a problem.

      Paper ballots have no problems? *cough* Florida *cough*

      One of the biggest problems with paper ballots is validation. It is near impossible to verify the voter's intent without destroying voter anonymity. Machines can be very useful for validating the voter's intent without violating his anonymity. Consider what would have happened in the last presidential election if the voter could have been asked "Did you really mean to vote for Buchanan?"
    • Sadly, this is due to someone more elequent than me who's nick I don't recall, but:

      Electronic Voting is not a solution in search of a problem, it's a problem looking for other problems to forcibly copulate with.
    • Electronic voting does offer certain advantages:

      *Ballots in multiple languages can be done easily
      *Ballots that if cast must be voided (marking more candidates than allowed) can be inspected and brought to the voters attention via computer
      *Ballots for the visually impaired can be computed and presented effortlessly

      Of course, the biggest and most mouthwatering sales pitch for people who run elections and other votes:
      * Never count by hand again!

      Now you see why they're pissed about this whole "paper trail" f
  • The point is... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Decameron81 ( 628548 ) on Friday August 06, 2004 @03:53PM (#9902434)
    The point is that the general public doesn't know what happens behind the scene when they click on a button with their mouse. Maybe the reason those experts don't trust e-voting is because they know it takes only so much to be able to read and modify data going through the net.

    Just my 2 cents.
    • A strange concept... people (or should I say sheeple - seems like that's all u guys have in the US) are more inclined to trust something whose weaknesses they don't understand than something whose weaknesses they do understand. Sad.

  • have you (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    ever gone to a hacker con? all those kids do is play dance dance revolution. id hardly call them experts
    • I was at defcon and I missed the DDR machine...maybe next year I'll look harder. I've been practicing at home on my playstation! Man, I would really pwn the other hacksorz with my mad l33t DDR hacksoring skillz yo.

      Who modded parent troll as insightful? Someone on crack, perhaps.
  • by CharAznable ( 702598 ) on Friday August 06, 2004 @03:53PM (#9902441)
    It's disturbing when technical issues become central to a wider political issue that involves everybody, yet very few people have the background to understand it or have an informed opinion about it. Software patents is such an issue. This one is too, and much more important. It's quite easy to lie and mislead the general public with it, since few people have the knowledge to see through the bullshit.
    • Especially sad is that the companies and lobbyists who push this sort of thing can easily pay off "experts" to convince the public that their way is better.

      Expert opinion is so clouded these days with money from various sources that the public has very little objective truth to trust. Educated "Experts" need to start realizing that the money they personally gain is a wealth of freedom lost by the people, and the "People" need to start realizing that anti-intellectualism is fueled by their own laziness to
    • "It's disturbing when [insert issue here] issues become central to a wider political issue that involves everybody, yet very few people have the background to understand it or have an informed opinion about it."

      Welcome to Slashdot. Do you think this stops geeks from discussing things they don't understand either? It's even more madddening when they force their opinions upon everyone assuming that since they're geeks they're smarter than eveyrone else and know what's best.
    • It's disturbing when technical issues become central to a wider political issue that involves everybody

      It's not just technical issues.

      For example, a good friend of mine is 19 and he's going into the military this month. He has taken an oath to uphold the constitution of the US. I asked him if he ever read it, he hadn't. How in the fuck are you supposed to defend a document that you don't know? Most of my countrymen have not read the Constitution, but everyone and their mother has an opinion about the rig
  • by odano ( 735445 ) * on Friday August 06, 2004 @03:53PM (#9902443)
    That e-voting isn't the only topic which hackers and the general public disagree.
  • This just in (Score:2, Insightful)

    News flash: General public clueless about an issue. More at 11...
  • Hackers and the public can't even agree that "hackers" are NOT "crackers", "warez d00dz", "skript kiddiz", or any such low-life.
  • no fair (Score:5, Funny)

    by pizza_milkshake ( 580452 ) on Friday August 06, 2004 @03:56PM (#9902476)
    it's obvious that the blackhat people tampered with the results of the poll concerning the tamperability of polls
    • Trust me... (Score:3, Insightful)

      by abb3w ( 696381 )
      Black hats are not known for subtlety when trying to send a political message. If they had been tampering, the poll would have shown that of 100 experts sampled, 293027571% thought it was insecure.

  • by flying_monkies ( 749570 ) on Friday August 06, 2004 @03:57PM (#9902499)
    This would be the same "general public" that uses Gator to store their passwords and really believe that someone they know would suddenly send them a poorly formatted email message with an executable attachment of a naked Anna Kournakova? Where's the "in other news, the sky is blue and water is wet" post?
  • by Lord Grey ( 463613 ) * on Friday August 06, 2004 @03:57PM (#9902500)
    The Ponemon Institute surveyed 2,933 members of the general public and then 100 DEFCON and Black Hat attendees to get their views on electronic voting.
    DEFCON is hardly the right place to be conducting a survey about the "hackability" of an electronic voting system. 50% of this year's attendees could probably figure out how to hack the vote before their third Mountain Dew.
    • by upsidedown_duck ( 788782 ) on Friday August 06, 2004 @04:10PM (#9902687)
      50% of this year's attendees could probably figure out how to hack the vote before their third Mountain Dew.

      This shows that there are clearly people out there who have the skills and, given the right circumstances, the will to be hired by a political campaign, incumbant, lobbyist organization, or criminal organization to aid their respective agendas. When big power plays and money are involved, hiring a computer cracker is probably just part of doing business.

  • Black Box Voting (Score:5, Interesting)

    by james_in_denver ( 757233 ) <james_in_denver@ya h o> on Friday August 06, 2004 @03:57PM (#9902501)
    It is amazing how trusting (or maybe it's just ignorant) the population is as regards e-voting.

    It seems as if they blindly trust our gov't to protect them from voting fraud. It's my opinion that the voting booth is really (short of violence) the ONLY tool that the population has to control their government.

    To trust the gov't to keep the vote safe is kind of like putting the fox to work gaurding the henhouse.

    The right to a secure, private, verifiable vote is the very foundation our country was built on. It's a shame that more people don't take it seriously.

    Visit the Open Voting Consortium" [] for more indepth thoughts and ideas on this topic.

    • It seems as if they blindly trust our gov't to protect them from voting fraud.

      They blindly trust them for most everything else why would voting me any different? "Oh, we should really give up some of our freedoms to make sure we protect everyone from the horrors of terrorism!"

      When we have a population that seriously believes that the best way we can protect ourselves is to fall victim to the ever longer Slip and Slide that this issue has become we have serious issues.
  • by thatguywhoiam ( 524290 ) on Friday August 06, 2004 @03:57PM (#9902502)
    .. and we know the difference between a superficially rigged voting system that looks secure, and one that is a sham. I mean, these people should really get a clOMIGOD a GIRL

    [runs away and hides]

  • by dg41 ( 743918 ) on Friday August 06, 2004 @03:58PM (#9902504)
    Is why elections officials are so adamantly opposed to a paper trail? Sure, it creates extra expense in the short term, but it simplifies matters (by using electronic voting, hands down then the chad-bearing cards) and provides an auditable trail.
  • Tell a lie long enough and people will take it as truth... or something like that
  • Technology as utopia (Score:5, Interesting)

    by sgarrity ( 262297 ) on Friday August 06, 2004 @03:58PM (#9902514) Homepage
    This seems to be an example of how technology has been sold to us ("the public" in this story) as an always-win net gain.

    New is better than old. Expensive is better than cheap. Big is better than small.

    This attitude is dangerous. Our collective faith is being misplaced in science and technology - both of which are important, but not perfect.

    • Smarter people than me could probably point out which sci-fi novel it was (perhaps several novels) about an eventual technocracy in near-future society. E-voting would clearly be one way for a "technological coup d'etat." What would happen if election results ended up being 100% write-in for Mr. Evil, instead of the other canidates? Could the country rally and put in place a paper-ballot system to re-do election in enough time for the new administration?
    • by teamhasnoi ( 554944 ) <> on Friday August 06, 2004 @04:32PM (#9902962) Journal
      You said it, man.

      As a Space Marine currently deep in the bowels of U-A Corp on Mars, I can truly say faith is misplaced in science and technology.


  • Sorry (Score:2, Insightful)

    Sorry to be touting my own 14th post, but I'm only covering it because it's so damn interesting!

    Actually, it is a good article, and it should be widely distributed. Obviously computer experts can see the flaws in e-voting, but it's the non-computer experts that we need to reach. Most people out there have no clue at all that something is wrong. An article like this, simplified a bit, could change a lot of uninformed opinions.
  • that people are in fact SHEEPLE, and can be herded where ever, when ever by TV and the printed press...
  • It's not necessarilly that the experts think that e-voting is secure.... rather, they probably see far more security problems with paper ballot voting than the general public does. The public perception isn't helped by the fact that most security problems with paper ballot voting probably goes undiscovered or underreported.

    • Crud

      "For example, 83% of the experts said e-voting is less or much less secure against election tampering than paper ballots, compared with just 19% of the general public."

      Misread that statement as "more or less".... for once I thought maybe somebody saw the light. :)
    • How can you have "experts" on the best candidate for a public position? Isn't a running candidate supposed to be representative of the majority of votes (and, theoretically, people)? Wouldn't that imply that the experts know what's best for the public? Why not just let them pick the candidates then? Unless they're lousy experts...

  • by dillon_rinker ( 17944 ) on Friday August 06, 2004 @04:03PM (#9902581) Homepage
    Look at the graph in the article. The biggest fear of the voting public is "Declines in voter turnout because of fear or distrust of e-voting systems."

    In other words, their greatest fear is that people will realize that e-voting is a recipe for fraud and will stay home. Their greatest fear is that people respond rationally to what I think most of us believe is the truth. That just astounds me.
  • P2P voting (Score:5, Insightful)

    by revery ( 456516 ) <> on Friday August 06, 2004 @04:04PM (#9902603) Homepage
    To quote a popular saying, He who counts the votes, elects.
    The only way to ensure the safety of ballots is to distribute the counting of ballots among a larger number of people.

    The more centralized the ballot counting, the easier it is to corrupt, the more distributed it is, the more difficult it is to corrupt and the greater the likelihood of exposure.

    And by distributed, I'm not talking about computers networks, I'm talking about people.


    Was it the sheep climbing onto the altar, or the cattle lowing to be slain,
    or the Son of God hanging dead and bloodied on a cross that told me this was a world condemned, but loved and bought with blood.
    • "Those who cast the votes decide nothing. Those who count the votes decide everything."

      I've attributed it to him in the past, but it's probably not. Hooray for google leading me to the right page. e+ quote y/aa121 800a.htm
  • But I don't understand why the system has to be at all accessible. Granted, I know jack about these systems. But it seems that everything necessary could be placed on the hdd, have a separate system outside that validates voters.

    Then process the vote on the hdd. Later the hdd's are removed from the systems by security personnel and taken under watch to a secure location where they are loaded into a database. Then the votes are tallied.

    The system has no network connections to exploit, no interface port
    • That's good, but it doesn't guard against flaws in the software itself--deliberate or otherwise. Who's to say that there's not going to be something like this:

      void TallyVote(vote theVote)
      BushTally++; // Ha ha!

      ...which would print out your vote on paper, but record a vote for Bush no matter what. The whole process would need a lot more oversight than anybody would be able to give it in the three months before the election.

  • It's like asking computer programmers if they think the Star Wars missle defense system can work any time soon. They will think about the complexities involved, realize how hard it will be to do realisitc testing scenarios, count the millions of lines of code that will be required, and answer unhesitatingly, "No way, dude." They KNOW better. They've been there, done that on critical systems that were way less complicated, and they know that failing to shoot down missles from the sky is several levels of
  • AFAIK, in the US of A, the elected administration chooses closed source methods/implementations of e-voting. That is plain madness and gives way not only to intransparent, uncheckable elections and manipulations.
  • Accessible Voting (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Bondolo ( 14225 ) on Friday August 06, 2004 @04:13PM (#9902717) Homepage
    My wife has been terribly excited by electronic voting because it promises to be accessible. She takes great offense that because she is blind she has to get assistance to vote under the current system.

    It's taken a while, but I've finally convinced her that being able to "vote" is pointless if the "vote" is not counted or they system itself is fundamentally flawed.

    It's interesting that the local newspaper, the Berkeley Daily Planet took the position that being opposed to electronic voting was a scheme to disenfranchise the disabled. It took a while, but following many insightful letters, they finally admitted that electronic voting as currently proposed in Alameda had the more serious potential to disenfranchise everyone!

    As technical professionals it's important we become informed as possible on the subject. That way when your dad or neighbour ask about electronic voting you can explain the dangers and current issues. The more the general public learns about electronic voting, the better off we all will be. (and these survey numbers will be more favourable)
  • Cleveland Plain Dealer, Aug. 23, 2003:
    The head of a company [Diebold] vying to sell voting machines in Ohio told Republicans in a recent fund-raising letter that he is "committed to helping Ohio deliver its electoral votes to the president next year."

    Looks like he's already done his part by building crappy machines with no paper trail. Now all the GOP needs to steal the election is some average-ability hackers.

  • I am amazed that it's only 6 out of 10 computer security professionals. I attended defcon and the 'hack the vote' lecture. Anyone who saw that lecture has to agree that there are serious flaws in e-voting.
  • I'm sure that it comes as no surprise to anyone here that the technical complexity and procedurally delicate nature of paper ballot voting is far beyond the understanding of the average DEFCON and Black Hat attendee. I can't imagine why you'd would expect otherwise. Now if you'll excuse me, I must look into getting my VCR to stop blinking 12:00'
  • 83% of the experts said e-voting is less or much less secure against election tampering than paper ballots ...

    The 17 employees of Diebold who attended DEFCON and Black Hat could not be reached for comment.
  • Got your attention with that? Well, so did Mr Ponemon, with his hot girl in a short pink dress walking around the con asking us if we wanted to fill out a survey.

    Maybe she has a PhD in statistics. Dunno.
  • by mdemeny ( 35326 ) on Friday August 06, 2004 @04:20PM (#9902828) Homepage
    I read somewhere that only 5% of the general public has a basic understanding of the concepts behind major everyday items such as a television or a refrigerator. Unfortunately I can't find the source of that figure (but paraphrasing Homer Simpson - "87% of all figures are made up anyways")

    However, this underscores an important weakness in our society. When a TV or fridge was simply a consumer item, it was less important to know how it works. Now that large parts of our economy (finance, software, inventory, logistics), society (arts and culture) and democracy itself is largely controlled by computers this knowledge gap become increasingly important. People looking to control these sectors can increasingly rely on the general populace to not understand the issues involved. Just look at the bills passed regarding the use of technology (DMCA, HAVA, etc.) and you'll see that basic weakness exploited.
  • by phurley ( 65499 ) on Friday August 06, 2004 @04:21PM (#9902832) Homepage
    If voting is anonymous it cannot be completely auditable and secure. The same can be said about paper ballots; however, it is harder to physically stuff a ballot with the required number of paper ballots compared to electronic tampering (once you are in, you can easily generate the required number of votes to tip the scale).

    Optical scan ballots that are verified by the voter seem like a reasonable middle ground. When voting I know immediately if the machine accepted my ballot and the totals are electronically gathered for rapid accumulation; however, there remains a paper trail that can be used for recounts and an audit trail.
  • It's pretty scarry to me.

    Just look at Diebold, they are going to create electronic voting machines but they can't even keep their ATM machines operational. []

    At least there will be music to play with when they crash.

  • This, ironically, shows why the average person should not be allowed to cast votes on most issues. It is alarming to consider that, on a referendum to adopt electronic voting, people who couldn't successfully configure an e-mail client have votes that count just as much as those of skilled computer professionals.
  • Always some nice irony when someone does a poll about how the polls can be tampered with... Which do you think were more accurate, the responses that came by mail, or those which came online?
  • Hmm... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by doublebackslash ( 702979 ) <> on Friday August 06, 2004 @04:42PM (#9903095)
    My vision of secure electronic voting involves lots of public keys of ridiculous length, a hard copy receipt available (hex or something printable with lots of redundancy to ensure that an unreadable letter would not mess with a re-count and a barcode like label on there to be easily read by a scanner is a re-count was necessary), a few datacenters around the nation that each receive the results individually from each vote (the vote is sent to each of them with a different key from the user's computer) and no user names or passwords are used, simply a code from you voting card coupled with your SSN and name, perhaps each voting card would be unique to the year (automated sending every year for registered voters, etc to not complicate the matter for regular voters). I cannot see where RSA encryption would be insecure, and our government can trust a LOT more sensitive data to datacenters. The results could be tabulated on-site at each of the data centers and announced. Hell, we could probably get away with a STRIGHT VOTE in stead of this Electoral Collage crap. If there is one week spot its in sending your voting card to you via the mail, but most people trust their tax returns with the mail and more sensitive data than even that! I'm not seeing how getting E-voting to work is hard, ad even if only a few use it at first they will convince others! This whole being stuck in the 1900's blows, lets modernize this "Democracy" for the love of pie!
    • Have you never heard of the "tyranny of the majority"? The United States is a Republic, not a Democracy, and the Electoral College exists specifically for this reason. Its job is explicitly to prevent the direct election of the President, because it's too important to entrust to the largely ignorant general populace. In high school, they teach about separation of powers and checks and balances; well, this is a check against the power of the people! The electoral college system was broken when the respon

Today is the first day of the rest of your lossage.