Home > 2004 election cycle, Tech > The GAO and e-voting

The GAO and e-voting

November 16, 2005 Leave a comment Go to comments

Apparently, no one noticed that the GAO released a report on e-voting on October 21st. It looks like they confirmed most of the problems that have been noted in other reports by states such as Maryland. Verified Voting has a summary:

Voting System Vulnerabilities Identified by GAO:
•Cast ballots, ballot definition files, memory cards, and audit logs could be modified.
•Supervisor functions were protected with weak or easily guessed passwords, and memory cards that allowed individuals access to voting machines were inadequately protected.
•Systems had easily picked locks and power switches that were exposed and unprotected.
•Voting machine vendors had weak security practices, including the failure to conduct background checks on programmers and system developers, and the failure to establish clear chain of custody procedures for handling software.

That all sounds eerily familiar to someone who wrote a research paper on this issue last fall. They still haven’t fixed much, apparently. I don’t know if it’s in the GAO report, but my favorite low-tech flaw was the fact that some machines had wires that could be exposed by tilting the monitor back. Pulling on the wires disabled the monitor, requiring a system reboot. No data loss, but that’s a ridiculous thing to be able to do.

It’s hard to understate the problems e-voting faces. I’m generally in favor of e-voting, but we don’t seem to be even close to having systems that are secure and reliable enough.

It’s also hard to understate this point: This is not evidence that Bush stole the 2004 election. It’s evidence that we need to fix these problems now or drop e-voting completely. Far left rambling about stolen elections with no evidence makes that harder.

(via John Cole)

Categories: 2004 election cycle, Tech
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