Electronic voting machines

October 23, 2008 at 5:06 AM | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Several states are using electronic voting in the coming election.  But is it safe?  Some are concerned.  A company named Diebold created the voting machines and wrote the program code that runs on them.  Diebold also creates ATMs, so presumably they have experience in creating rugged machines that cannot be broken by determined hackers.

But there have been some problems with electronic voting so far.  Machines in some elections have crashed or otherwise failed.  Some also say that the machines have visible, easily exploitable flaws and security problems that could allow an attacker to manipulate the vote counts.  One group even published a video showing how easy it was for them to compromise a voting machine.  Additionally, the former CEO of Diebold is known to have been a major contributor and fundraiser to George W. Bush’s reelection campaign in 2004, so some critics are concerned that the voting machines might try to bias themselves toward one party or another.  (Because of all the bad press and reputation, Diebold has recently renamed its voting machine division to Premier Election Solutions.)

How can we be sure that our votes are counted fairly?  Some (including California’s Secretary of State, recently) say that the solution is to make sure that all voting machines are fully open source.  This means that everyone would be able to see all of the source code for the machine to make sure it doesn’t contain any sneaky code or bugs. Others think that a paper trail should be made for all electronic votes so that people can hand-count them if necessary to ensure correctness and avoid vote fraud.

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  1. Funny video related to electronic voting:


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