E-voting: Democratic or dangerous?
By Richard Black
BBC Science correspondent
... In the wake of the fiasco in Florida during the last
presidential election in 2000, [electronic voting] machines are seen by many in the US as a way of ensuring a fair vote. They
are slowly being introduced across the nation. ...
But some computer experts believe e-voting could actually
make fraud much easier. ...
One is Avi Rubin, technical director of the Information Security
Institute at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.
Earlier this year, through a chance discovery, he was
able to examine the computer programme, the source code, used in a voting machine made by Diebold, one of the largest manufacturing
"The source code was very poorly written, it didn't
have the kinds of controls in place that you would expect from a high-assurance system," Prof Rubin told BBC News Online.
An ordinary voter could alter the outcome of an election,
he believes. ...
"Even more serious would be a rogue or malicious programmer
working at Diebold who could put in some hidden functionality that could cause the outcome of the election to be later determined
by the attacker," he says. ...
The complete article has much more background information, quoting
arguments for and against electronic voting machines.
Christian Science Monitor
|from the November 03, 2003 edition -
A better ballot?Electronic
ballots, hailed as the antidote to hanging chads, will make a mark on Election Day. But critics warn of risks to democracy.
By Mary Wiltenburg | Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor
The complete article is currently (3/28/04) available on the Christian Science Monitor website at-- http://www.csmonitor.com/2003/1103/p11s02-uspo.html [found through a Google search by article title on the same date]
... A growing number of
computer scientists are now warning that the new technology, far from solving America's voting problems, may actually make
things worse. Electronic ballots can be miscounted too, they say - or the machines that tally them tampered with and traces
of sabotage erased.
"If you look at the consequences for democracy, it's terrifying,"
says David Dill, a Stanford University computer-science professor who has led the charge to raise awareness about the machines'
potential security flaws. "If we had a way to make [computerized voting] safe, believe me, we would. There's no way to run
a reliable election without a verifiable paper trail - that's what these machines don't have." ...
The complete article includes "From quill to touch screen: a US history of ballot-casting"
| Copyright © 2003