The River

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Electronic voting

How They Could Steal the Election This Time
By RONNIE DUGGER, The Nation

(excerpt)

The four major election corporations count votes with voting-system source codes. These are kept strictly secret by contract with the local jurisdictions and states using the machines. That secrecy makes it next to impossible for a candidate to examine the source code used to tabulate his or her own contest. In computer jargon a "trapdoor" is an opening in the code through which the program can be corrupted. David Stutsman, an Indiana lawyer whose suits in the 1980s exposed a trapdoor that was being used by the nation's largest election company at that time, puts it well: "The secrecy of the ballot has been turned into the secrecy of the vote count."

According to Dr. David Dill, professor of computer science at Stanford, all elections conducted on DREs [direct-recording-electronic] "are open to question." Challenging those who belittle the danger of fraud, Dill says that with trillions of dollars at stake in the battle for control of Congress and the presidency, potential attackers who might seek to fix elections include "hackers, candidates, zealots, foreign governments and criminal organizations," and "local officials can't stop it."

Last fall during a public talk on "The Voting Machine War" for advanced computer-science students at Stanford, Dill asked, "Why am I always being asked to prove these systems aren't secure? The burden of proof ought to be on the vendor. You ask about the hardware. 'Secret.' The software? 'Secret.' What's the cryptography? 'Can't tell you because that'll compromise the secrecy of the machines.'... Federal testing procedures? 'Secret'! Results of the tests? 'Secret'! Basically we are required to have blind faith."

The integrity of the vote-counting inside DREs depends on audit logs and reports they print out, but as Neumann says, these are "not real audit trails" because they are themselves riggable. The DREs randomly store three to seven complete sets of alleged duplicates of each voter's ballot, and sets of these images can be printed out after the election and manually counted. The companies claim that satisfies the requirement in the 2002 Help America Vote Act (HAVA) that "a manual audit capacity" must be available. But as informed computer scientists unanimously agree, if the first set of ballot images is corrupted, they all are.

[more]


Comments:
Hi i am totally blown away with the blogs people have created its so much fun to read alot of good info and you have also one of the best blogs !! Have some time check our link of computer book.
 
Hi i am totally blown away with the blogs people have created its so much fun to read alot of good info and you have also one of the best blogs !! Have some time check my link of vioxx lawyer.
 
Post a Comment