New Articles for This Topic
Last Update Date: Tue, 14 Mar 2006 12:57:59 -0500 (EST)
"Primary Voting-Machine Troubles Raise Concerns for General Election"
USA Today (03/28/06) P. 1A; Drinkard, Jim
Voting-machine difficulties in Texas and Illinois have revived concerns
that this year's election will be fraught with glitches. Since the Help
America Vote Act required states to modernize their voting equipment, it is
estimated that in this year's election more than 30 million voters will be
using unfamiliar machines. Concerns about the reliability and security of
new e-voting systems have reverberated throughout the country, and early
problems in primary elections have already materialized in two Illinois
jurisdictions--Chicago and Cook County--where precinct judges were
untrained, and paper jams and misplaced equipment caused long delays in
tallying the ballots. In Texas, state Supreme Court candidate Steve Smith
is contesting the March 7 primary due to count irregularities. An initial
ballot tally in Fort Worth had 150,000 votes recorded, though there are
only one-third that number of voters. State spokesman Scott Haywood says
the irregularities were the result of human error, and the problems have
been fixed. In May, 10 states will hold primaries, including Pennsylvania,
which is "a disaster waiting to happen," according to John Gideon, director
of VotersUnite.org. The new systems will be up to the task, however,
retorts Michelle Shafer of Sequoia Voting Systems, which provides voting
machines to Pennsylvania and 19 other states.
ACM's U.S. Public Policy Committee recently issued an in-depth report on
the accuracy, privacy, usability, security, and reliability issues of
statewide databases of registered voters. To review the report, visit
"Professor to Try to Hack Voting Machines"
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (03/27/06); Sherman, Jerome L.
After promising to pay $10,000 to anyone who can hack into a touch-screen
voting machine without being detected, Carnegie Mellon computer science
professor Michael Shamos is going to try himself. With thousands of
computer scientists having raised doubts about the security of voting
machines, Shamos will travel to Harrisburg to test the Sequoia AVC
Advantage machine that Allegheny County intends to purchase. He has
conducted more than 100 tests on voting machines in five states, and feels
that he is better qualified than most to assess the vulnerability of
e-voting machines. To meet the requirements for federal aid under the Help
America Vote Act, Pennsylvania must have updated equipment in all of its
counties. "If the system meets the requirements of Pennsylvania law, I'll
recommend it," Shamos said. "If it doesn't, I'll have no hesitation in
recommending against certification, even though it would throw elections in
this county into a tizzy." Shamos has been certifying voting machines in
Pennsylvania since 1980, and had been ready to quit the business when the
2000 election fiasco occurred, prompting a new level of concern about
voting machine reliability. Shamos has tested the Advantage machine
before, and this time he will spend up to nine hours searching for flaws in
the machine's security, reliability, or usability. Voting rights advocates
in Allegheny County have raised similar concerns as the Verified Voting
Foundation, the California-based organization that has led the call for
equipping machines with a mechanism to produce a paper trail for voters to
confirm the accuracy of their ballot. David Dill, the organization's
founder and a former student of Shamos', favors optical scan devices, but
Shamos says those systems can fall prey to human error as well, and that no
evidence of fraud has yet to appear. Shamos has never approved the
addition of a paper trail to any system.
A report entitled "Statewide Databases of Registered Voters--Study of
Accuracy, Privacy, Usability, Security, and Reliability Issues" by ACM's
"Touch-Screen Voting Isn't the Answer"
Baltimore Sun (03/31/06) P. 11A; Schneider, John
In framing the electronic voting-machine debate in Maryland around
security, many experts are missing the point, writes John Schneider, an
Internet and data security consultant. Because any system can technically
be rigged or manipulated, security is a relative term, generally a function
of the effort and risk of breaking into a system weighed against the
rewards of doing so. Without a sufficient recovery plan, voters will have
to take on faith from a small group of technologists that their votes have
been counted and recorded accurately. Most involved in the debate agree
that some kind of paper recording mechanism is in order so voters can
confirm their choices. Paper ballots also enable officials to conduct a
hand recount if the machines experience problems. One type of paper trail
would feed a roll under glass for voters to lean forward and read, while
another would have the voter create an individual ballot to be read by an
optical scanner. Schneider writes that the critical difference between
optical scanners and touch-screen systems is that voters prepare a ballot
by hand with an optical-scan system so it cannot be hacked should a recount
be necessary. Given the value of Maryland's inventory of touch-screen
systems, an optical-scan voting system could be deployed for a net cost of
around zero while offering the invaluable benefit of restoring confidence
in the state's voting process, Schneider concludes.
ACM's statement on the importance of verified voting procedures is at
acm_evoting_recommendation.9-27-2004.html. The ACM news release on voter
registration guidelines to assure privacy and accuracy is at
"New Database Rejects Eligible Calif. Voters"
Computerworld (04/07/06); Songini, Marc L.
California's new database of registered voters, once hailed as a model for
other states by the federal government, could block thousands of registered
voters from casting ballots in this June's statewide election, officials
warn. Since the December implementation of the database, California's
registration process has invalidated numerous attempts to register,
typically due to minor data-entry issues. Between Jan. 1 and March 15, 43
percent of the voter registration forms in Los Angeles County were
rejected, causing election officials to wonder if eligible voters will be
dropped from the voter rolls. The voter registration database, created to
comply with the Help America Vote Act, accepts 74 percent of registrations
on the first try, leaving the rest to be manually validated by election
workers, according to a spokeswoman for Secretary of State Bruce McPherson,
who runs the database. Voters must provide their county registrar with a
driver's license number or other identifying information, which is then
keyed into a database and uploaded to the new system, which
cross-references the information with records from the Department of Motor
Vehicles or other appropriate agency. If so much as a middle initial is
missing, the new centralized system could reject the application. Given
the lag time sometimes required to validate registrations in the new
system, election officials fear that they may not be able to manually
validate all the rejected registrations in time for the May 22 deadline to
vote in the June 6 election. California State Sen. Debra Brown, an
outspoken critic of McPherson, believes the rejection rate should be no
higher than 2 percent, and that the voter database has been fraught with
problems from the outset. Meanwhile, McPherson has proposed legislation to
"provide common-sense flexibility so that no eligible voter should be
denied the opportunity to vote because of a technicality," his spokeswoman
"Does Every Vote Count?"
San Antonio Express-News (TX) (04/09/06); Chapa, Rebeca
In the wake of recent contentious elections that ended up in a recount of
paper ballots, computer experts have been calling for a nationwide mandate
that would require all e-voting machines to produce a paper trail. "You
can't trust an election that's run with paperless machines," said Avi
Rubin, computer science professor at Johns Hopkins University. "There
isn't any way to recover the results." Currently, 25 states require their
voting machines to contain a voter-verified paper trail, though more are
having to wrestle with the issue as they race to purchase new equipment
under the 2002 Help America Vote Act. Rep. Rush Holt (D-N.J.) has
introduced legislation that would require every precinct to use machines
that produce a paper trail and each state to conduct unannounced audits of
2 percent of its jurisdictions. The U.S. General Accounting Office
released a report in September touting the potential of e-voting machines
to improve the election process, though it mentioned the numerous warnings
that have raised "concerns about their security and reliability." If
election results are contested, Rubin and Stanford computer scientists
David Dill argue that without a voter-verified paper trail, auditors will
only be able to reprint the ballots, which would simply reproduce the same
errors that the machines made on election day. Nevada has implemented
machines with voter-verifiable paper trails in each of its 17 counties, and
has met with positive feedback from voters. In Leon County, Fla.,
elections administrator Ion Sancho sparked controversy last year when he
invited security researchers to attempt to hack into the county's Diebold
machines. While the security experts succeeded in penetrating the system,
Diebold lashed out at Sancho, calling his tests "foolish and
irresponsible." With counties throughout the country scrambling to
implement new systems, vendors are also having difficulty keeping up with
To read USACM's recent report, "Statewide Databases of Registered Voters,"
"Voting Glitch Said to Be 'Disastrous'"
Inside Bay Area (CA) (05/10/06); Hoffman, Ian
A recently discovered vulnerability in Diebold's touch-screen voting
machines has election officials scrambling to understand and contain the
risk. A hacker with minimal specialized knowledge of Diebold's system and
an off-the-shelf component could load software onto the machine to disable
it or alter vote counts in a matter of minutes. "This one is worse than
any of the others I've seen. It's more fundamental," said Douglas Jones, a
University of Iowa computer scientist. "In the other ones, we've been
arguing about the security of the locks on the front door," he said. "Now
we find there's no back door. This is the kind of thing where if the
states don't get out in front of the hackers, there's a real threat."
Finnish computer expert Harri Hursti discovered the flaw while working with
Black Box Voting in March, and quietly spread word of the glitch to several
prominent computer scientists who advise states on voting machines.
Pennsylvania, California, and Iowa have directed their election officials
to seal the machines with tamper-proof tape until election day, though
California advised its counties that intend to use only Diebold machines in
their upcoming elections that the threat is low, and that tampering would
be easily detected by voters from the paper read-out and by officials once
they recount 1 percent of their precincts' paper ballots. California
Assistant Secretary of State for elections Susan Lapsley downplayed the
risk, arguing that "it assumes access and control for a lengthy period of
time." Scientists disagree, noting that hackers could work out plans ahead
of time, and that it only takes a minute to install the software, a hole
that apparently originated from Diebold's efforts to make it as easy as
possible to update the software inside its systems.
ACM's U.S. Public Policy Committee has released a report on Statewide
Databases of Registered Voters. To review, visit
"Reversing Course on Electronic Voting"
Wall Street Journal (05/12/06) P. A4; Cummings, Jeanne
Citing the spate of demonstrated vulnerabilities in e-voting machines, some
supporters of the 2002 Help America Vote Act have grown concerned that the
law intended to improve the voting process could have made things much
worse, and have begun filing lawsuits to block the compliance efforts of
some state election officials. The law, passed to ensure that the
confusion surrounding the 2000 presidential election is not repeated,
requires states to upgrade their voting systems to electronic machines,
which at the time were considered more reliable than the archaic paper
ballots being used in many states. Arizona was sued last week over the
e-voting machines that it purchased with federal money authorized by the
act, and a suit is likely to be filed against Colorado election officials
next week. The Arizona lawsuit charges that the e-voting machines are
unreliable, susceptible to fraud, and that electronic ballots are more
difficult to recount than paper ones. The Help America Vote Act "has been
turned on its head and it's causing more problems than solutions at this
point," said Lowell Finley, co-founder of Voter Action. Diebold argues
that its equipment is secure, and that it runs on technology that has been
in use for at least a decade. Several states returned to paper ballots
after experiencing glitches in electronic machines in the 2004 election.
In addition the charge that they are unreliable, critics of touch-screen
systems claim that the sophisticated technology gives too much control over
the election process to equipment makers. Investigations into glitches in
e-voting systems have uncovered both technical flaws and cases of user
error. Although, there has not yet been a proven instance of anyone
electronically manipulating votes in an actual election, computer
scientists say it's possible. A 2005 report from the Commission on Federal
Election Reform warned that "Software can be modified maliciously before
being installed into individual voting machines. There is no reason to
trust insiders in the election industry any more than in other industries."
To view a report entitled "Statewide Databases of Registered Voters," by
"3 States Mandate More Security for Diebold E-Voting Machines"
Associated Press (05/11/06); Goodin, Dan
Diebold is developing a permanent solution for a flaw in its electronic
voting machines that some observers believe could be used to conduct
unauthorized functions, and even sabotage an election. Researchers with
Black Box Voting, a nonpartisan, not-for-profit organization, discovered
the feature that could theoretically allow a hacker to load authorized
software on Diebold Election Systems e-voting machines, and the Oakland
Tribune reported the vulnerability this week. Black Box Voting also plans
to release a report on its finding this week. "It's a deliberate feature
that was added by Diebold that we all believe is unwise," says Carnegie
Mellon University computer science professor Michael Shamos, who has been
briefed on the flaw. Diebold maintains that there has been no evidence
that any voting on its machines has been compromised, adding that following
its existing security procedures will make it difficult for anyone to take
advantage of the vulnerability. Although Pennsylvania officials say
someone would need to have physical access to the memory card slot while
the system booted up in order to exploit the vulnerability, they have
ordered local officials to reinstall the authorized software just before
testing Diebold machines and certifying them for use. California and Iowa
have mandated similar policies for Diebold computerized machines until the
company delivers a permanent solution.
For information on ACM's e-voting activities, visit
"States Beef Up E-Voting Security After Reports on Weaknesses"
E-Commerce Times (05/12/06); Regan, Keith
States that have purchased the Diebold e-voting machines recently reported
to contain a serious vulnerability have been taking steps to improve
security for the next elections. Black Box Voting issued a report
detailing the work of Finnish computer expert Harri Hursti that discovered
what one expert called the most serious vulnerability found to date in a
Diebold machine. "While these flaws are not in the vote-processing system
itself, they potentially seriously compromise election security," the
report said. "It would be helpful to learn how existing oversight
processes have failed to identify this threat." Diebold notes that hacking
the machines would require physical access to them, and that the
vulnerability was designed to ensure that the machines could be updated
with new software to prolong their lives. Many looked to e-voting as an
alternative to the outdated paper systems that created so much confusion in
the 2000 presidential election, though critics are worried that the
increasing reliance on technology puts too much power in the hands of
manufacturers and specialists, and that verifying votes is essentially
impossible in machines that do not produce a paper record. The nonprofit
group Voter Action has helped voters in Arizona file a suit attempting to
halt the state from purchasing e-voting machines, claiming that they would
disenfranchise certain voters. Critics are concerned with the chain of
custody of the machines, noting that a breach could go unnoticed for a long
time because they are frequently moved around and placed in storage for
extended durations. A knowledgeable programmer could infect the machines
with a malicious program in minutes, according to the Black Box report.
Diebold and other e-voting supporters note that there has not been a single
reported case of altering an actual election, and that manipulating results
from traditional machines is as simple as destroying the paper ballots.
For information about ACM's e-voting activities, visit
"More E-Voting Concerns Surface With State Primaries Underway"
The NewStandard (05/17/06); Komp, Catherine
State and local officials are increasingly joining voting-rights groups in
questioning the security of e-voting systems, particularly since the recent
discovery of a serious flaw in one of Diebold's touch-screen machines. The
vulnerability comes from a feature that Diebold included to enable the
machines to install software updates with ease, though security experts
warn that the same feature could be exploited by anyone with a basic
knowledge of the system who wanted to install software that could
manipulate votes. Election officials have turned to the security community
for independent analysis when Diebold's responses to their concerns have
been unsatisfactory. "They just don't get it," said Michael Shamos,
professor of computer science at Carnegie Mellon University. "We've had
many, many discussions. In fact, if you look at their public statements
they've made in light of this revelation, it shows that they still don't
get it." Diebold argues that tampering with the machines would require the
involvement of a malicious election official, a possibility which the
company discounts. Only California, Iowa, and Pennsylvania have addressed
the Diebold problem so far, though many state use the systems. In Iowa,
Deputy Secretary of State John Hedgecoth ordered election officials to run
a final software upgrade and seal the machine with a memory card inside
immediately prior to the upcoming election. "So we are controlling both
the software in the field with a final version that is decided upon by our
elections division, and then we're securing the memory card against
tampering on Election Day," Hedgecoth said. As concerns about e-voting
systems in general have reached a fever pitch, voters in Arizona have filed
a lawsuit to block the state from purchasing systems that "are not
trustworthy or transparent," following similar suits filed in California,
New York, and New Mexico. For information on ACM's e-voting activities,
"Will Your Vote Count in 2006?"
Newsweek (05/29/06) Vol. 147, No. 22, P. 14; Levy, Steven
With experts calling the recently reported vulnerabilities in e-voting
machines the most serious ever discovered, Americans' confidence in the
integrity of the election process is in jeopardy, writes Steven Levy.
Diebold claims that the flaw uncovered last month by Finnish security
expert Harri Hursti was designed to enable the machines to easily receive
software upgrades, though that feature also invites the possibility that
anyone with an elementary familiarity with the machines could install
malicious code in a matter of minutes. Hackers could program the machines
to fail on Election Day or, worse still, manipulate the ballot-counting
functions to switch votes from one candidate to another. That type of
software is capable of disguising itself so that even authorized
technicians would be unable to detect its presence. "If Diebold had set
out to build a system as insecure as they possibly could, this would be
it," said Avi Rubin, a professor of computer science at Johns Hopkins
University. Concerns over the security of e-voting machines have sparked
calls for including a mechanism to produce paper receipts in the event that
a manual recount is necessary. "When you're using a paperless voting
system, there is no security," said David Dill, a professor at Stanford
University. Twenty-six states have already moved to implement a
paper-recording mechanism, though a legislative initiative that would bar
paperless voting throughout the country is stalled on the House floor. Six
years after the disastrous election of 2000, U.S. voters will head to the
polls this year still uncertain if their votes will be accurately recorded,
Levy gloomily concludes. For information about ACM's e-voting activites,
including a recent report on Statewide Databases of Registered Voters,
"Auditor's Report Criticizes Florida's Voter Database"
Computerworld (06/26/06); Songini, Marc
Florida Auditor General William Monroe announced in a report published
earlier in June that the state's voter registration information can be at
risk for theft, corruption, access that is not authorized, and change, in
spite of the most stringent effort of elections authorities. The report
discovered multiple IT security problems with Florida's main voter
registration database. For example, says Florida auditor general's office
IT audit manager John Ingram, the system review determined that a state
employee was inappropriately granted access to the database and that a
worker whose contract was concluded mistakenly held on to access. The
auditor's report suggests that Florida Secretary of State Sue Cobb's office
establish a set of security protocols to help county authorities make
certain that Florida Voter Registration System information is shielded from
unapproved access. In addition, the report calls on Florida to set up
virus protection, patch management, upkeep, and system recovery standards.
Consultant Paula Hawthorn points out that possible security and
information-integrity troubles with voter registration databases are not
new to Florida. Hawthorne was co-chair of a committee established by ACM's
U.S. Public Policy Committee (USACM) that studied the condition of voter
registration databases and determined that the voter registration database
plans of numerous states do not have satisfactory security measures. To
view the report--Statewide Databases of Registered Voters--visit
"Analysis Finds e-Voting Machines Vulnerable"
USA Today (06/27/06) P. 14A; Stone, Andrea
The majority of the electronic voting machines that states have been
purchasing since the 2000 presidential election "pose a real danger to the
integrity of national, state, and local elections," according to a report
issued by the Brennan Center for Justice. The report cites more than 120
vulnerabilities in the three most popular systems: touch-screen machines
and optical-scan systems with and without paper trails, which together
account for 80 percent of the machines that will be used in the upcoming
November elections. Though there has yet to be a reported case of voting
machines being hacked in an actual election, the Brennan Center's Lawrence
Norden notes incidents of similar software attacks on computerized slot
machines. "It is unrealistic to think this isn't something to worry
about," he said. The report comes amid primary season as concerns about
the security of e-voting machines have been mounting. At least six states
have seen lawsuits filed attempting to block the purchase or use of
electronic systems. The report does not target specific machines, but
rather argues more broadly that the e-voting systems in use today are
inherently problematic. It finds that the easiest form of attack would be
to switch votes from one candidate to another using corrupt software, and
that machines that use wireless components are the most vulnerable.
Without regular audits, machines with paper trails are just as vulnerable
as those without, the report finds. It concludes that states should ban
wireless components (a measure so far implemented only by California, New
York, and Minnesota) and routinely conduct audits to compare voter-verified
paper trails with electronic records. For more on the vulnerabilities of
New Articles for This Topic
Last Update Date: Sat, 29 Oct 2005 23:04:10 -0400 (EDT)
"E-Voting Grows Without Consensus"
A U.S. General Accounting Office report suggesting the U.S. Election
Assistance Commission should establish security policies for electronic
voting systems and an e-voting machine certification program has sparked
complains from state and local election officials that they lack best ...
"Another Blow to E-Voting Company"
A North Carolina judge has ruled that electronic voting machine
manufacturer Diebold will not be protected from criminal prosecution in the
event that it does not make its software code available, as required by
state law. Due to the ruling, Diebold could halt sales of new voting
"Electronic Voting Under Scrutiny as Federal Compliance Date Looms"
As a Jan. 1 e-voting compliance date approaches, election officials are
scrambling to ensure that their machines are reliable and immune to viruses
and hackers, as well as capable of providing a paper recording mechanism,
though it remains unlikely that the required improvements will ...
"Uncertainty Clouds Future of E-Vote Tests"
There is a broad recognition that e-voting machines are severely flawed,
and it remains unclear how long it will be before secure, reliable
technology emerges. Carnegie Mellon's Michael Shamos found that
one-quarter of the machines submitted to Pennsylvania were not qualified ...
"EFF Moves to Block Certification of e-Voting Systems"
The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is seeking to overturn the recent
certifications of e-voting machines in North Carolina, claiming that state
officials did not uphold their legal obligations in approving them. The
EFF filed the complaint on behalf of a voter advocacy group, urging the ...
"Can State Ignore Its E-Vote Laws?"
North Carolina election officials will appear in court this week to defend
against allegations they ignored the state's laws on the certification
of e-voting machines. The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has leveled
the charges against the Board of Elections and the Office of Information ...
"New Tests Fuel Doubts About Vote Machines"
Security experts demonstrated vulnerabilities in Diebold's e-voting
machines to election officials in Florida, claiming that a politically
motivated hacker could alter election results. The Leon County commission
responded by scrapping the Diebold machines in favor of ones made by ...
"Diebold Hack Hints at Wider Flaws"
The discovery of flaws in Diebold's optical-scan voting machines in
Florida's Leon County should give election officials pause about the
machines supplied by other manufacturers, as well, said Hugh Thompson, the
adjunct computer science professor who conducted the test last week. After ...
"As Elections Near, Officials Challenge Balloting Security"
Leon County elections supervisor Ion Sancho has commissioned four attacks
on Diebold voting machines in the Florida county over the last year to
demonstrate the vulnerability of the system. Each attack, described by
experts as a relatively simple hacking method, successfully demonstrated ...
"Expert Calls for Increased E-Voting Security"
In a Q&A with Computerworld, security specialist Herbert Thompson describes
his volunteer effort to hack into Diebold Elections Systems' e-voting
machines in Leon County, Fla., on Dec. 13, in response to fears about
accuracy and security expressed by local officials. Thompson, director of ...
"Electronic Voting on Rise, Study Says"
Associated Press (02/07/06); Tanner, Robert
The United States is doing away with old voting systems because they are
prone to error, but problems still should be expected in the November
elections because so many voters will be using unfamiliar equipment. "You
throw that many people in on something new, you're always bound to see
something go wrong," says Kimball Brace, president of Election Data
Services, which tracks election equipment. According to a new survey from
the political consulting firm, this fall at least 80 percent of voters will
use new machines that are either ATM-style touchscreen units or devices
that ask users to fill in the blanks. Ten percent of voters will use a
lever machine, and 3 percent will use punch cards, which were the subject
of the contested votes in Florida during the 2000 presidential election.
At that time, about 20 percent of voters used levers, and approximately 17
percent used punch cards. Meanwhile, critics of the new voting systems
maintain that they can be manipulated, and the charges have prompted 25
states to pass laws that require the equipment to verify votes and to yield
paper receipts. After the 2006 elections, approximately 48 percent of the
nation's 170 million registered voters will have used a new voting system.
[For information on ACM's e-voting activities, visit
"Md. House Approves Paper Ballots"
Washington Post (03/10/06) P. A1; Marimow, Ann E.; Woodlee, Yolanda
In a unanimous vote, the Maryland House of Delegates endorsed the use of
paper ballots in its next election, scrapping the state's touch-screen
machines in a move supported by Republican Gov. Robert Ehrlich that
represents an about-face for a state that had been at the forefront of
touch-screen voting technology in 2001. Under the plan, the state would
lease optical ballot machines for $13 million, while the $90 million
touch-screen machines would be shelved for one year. It remains uncertain
how the plan will fare in the Senate, and there is no money in Ehrlich's
budget earmarked for the new machines. Diebold will demonstrate for
lawmakers an updated version of its touch-screen system that produces a
paper record. The challenges that Maryland has had in selecting a voting
system are typical of the pains that election officials feel nationwide as
computer experts question the reliability and security of touch-screen
systems. Voter verification is now required in more than two dozen states
as advocacy groups have lobbied to ensure that voters can have confidence
in the accuracy of their ballot. Within Maryland, some officials have
argued that optical scan machines are a step in the wrong direction, given
that the hand-marked ballots can produce ambiguous results. "There is no
evidence of anything wrong with Maryland elections," said John Willis, the
former Secretary of State, pointing to the study conducted by the
California Institute of Technology and MIT that identified Maryland as the
state with the lowest voter error in 2004.
New Articles for This Topic
Last Update Date: Thu, 14 Jul 2005 09:41:16 -0500
"Voting Machine Standards Move Forward"
The widespread adoption of electronic voting systems in U.S. states and
territories necessitates the continuous upgrading of voting machine and
voting machine software standards, and the IEEE and the National Institute
of Standards and Technology (NIST) are working on such standards. The IEEE ...
"Advocates Urge Election Assistance Commission to Require Verification and
Proponents of disabled voting rights and voter-verified paper records
(AVVPR) joined forces on July 28 by calling on the Election Assistance
Commission to make verifiable and universally accessible voting systems a
requirement. "Most people are realizing that there is no need for conflict ...
"Initial Report Undersold E-Vote Snafus"
The first mass testing of the new Diebold AccuVote TSx electronic voting
systems in the United States last month demonstrated fallibility of far
greater magnitude than previously reported. During a mock election
employing 96 such machines in California, almost one-third of the units had ...
"E-Voting Report Could Push Audit Trails"
Electronic voting machines should be equipped with voter-verifiable paper
audit trails, says a recent report from an election commission headed by
former President Jimmy Carter and former secretary of state James Baker
III. The report claims such a measure would enable recounts when required, ...
"E-Voting Hobbled by Security Concerns"
No outside techniques exist for confirming that the votes recorded by most
electronic voting systems have not been tampered with, and the National
Institute of Standards and Technology has organized a Oct. 7 conference to
investigate technological safeguards. The obvious solution would be to ...
"PITAC Returns as Part of PCAST"
A recent executive order from President Bush has revived the erstwhile
President's Information Technology Advisory Committee (PITAC) as part of
the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST).
"The whole multidisciplinary nature of science and technology these days ...
"University Computer Buffs Plus in to Conference"
Over 400 students, 25 companies, and 21 speakers will attend the 11th
annual ACM student computing contest at the University of Illinois at
Urbana-Champaign this weekend. The event will feature a job
fair with representatives from such companies ...
"Patents: Agreeing to Disagree?"
Sweeping patent reforms are being stymied by differing views concerning the
ownership of rights to ideas and artistic works. Many intellectual
property experts conclude that long-cherished approaches to producing
innovations, such as patent systems, will be retained, with many of the ...
"Korea's High-Tech Utopia, Where Everything Is Observed"
Under construction in South Korea is New Songdo, a "ubiquitous city" where
data is shared by all key information systems, and where residences, office
buildings, and streets have built-in computers. Although South Korea is
home to several U-city initiatives, Mike An of the Incheon Free Economic ...
"Racers, Start Your Software, and May the Best Robot Win"
Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) director Anthony Tether
says qualifying trials for this year's Grand Challenge contest have
exceeded his hopes, especially compared to how poorly the contestants fared
in last year's competition. The Grand Challenge is a DARPA-sponsored race ...
"Waging Battle on Foreign Labor"
The concern that many employers are exploiting the H-1B visa program to
replace U.S. tech workers with lower-wage foreigners is rearing its head
again with a recent study from the Programmers Guild. The report says many
employers in companies seeking a minimum of 100 H-1B visas in 2004 intended ...
"Nematodes: The Making of 'Beneficial' Network Worms"
At the recent Hack In the Box event in Malaysia, security researcher Dave
Aitel showed off a demo of a "Nematode" framework for creating a benign
computer worm that he believes organizations will employ to reduce the
costs of network security. "With this [Nematode] concept, you can take ...
"Developing 'Broadband for All'"
The IST-sponsored NOBEL project set out to achieve widespread broadband
implementation throughout Europe at a moderate cost. Broadband adoption
has been slowed by concerns about sinking large investments in relatively
new technologies, such as networking through optical fiber; the project, ...
"Jeff Hawkins, Computing Pioneer, Endows New Center to Develop Model of Brain"
UC Berkeley alumnus and computing pioneer Jeff Hawkins, whose innovations
include the PalmPilot, has endowed a new research center to devise
mathematical and computational models of the human brain with a $4 million
gift from him and his wife, Janet Strauss. The Redwood Center for ...
"Speak Up for the IT Career"
IT careers still hold much promise despite globalization, outsourcing, and
other trends that have discouraged people from becoming IT professionals.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, computer scientists, database
administrators, and computer-system analysts will experience some of the ...
"Wireless Usage Expands to Machines"
As wireless providers look to expand their industry beyond cell phones,
machines are becoming a more appealing target. Machine-to-machine (M2M)
communication holds vast potential to automate everyday tasks performed by
service technicians, and, ultimately, to improve customer service; for ...
"Social Computing Drives Emerging Applications"
Experts at MIT's Emerging Technologies Conference expect a new era of
intrapersonal communications to arise from the advent of social networks
and applications that assess personal behavior and gauge basic human traits
such as honesty and likeability. MIT Toshiba Professor of Media Arts and ...
"Cognitive Radio Brings Artificial Intelligence as Solution"
Researchers at Virginia Tech's Center for Wireless Telecommunications are
developing a cognitive radio solution that could enable more effective
communication for first responders and safety officials in the event of a
disaster by significantly cutting Wi-Fi interference and lowering the ...
"Net Governance Concern Wider Industry, Observers Say"
The Working Group on Internet Governance (WGIG) is calling for more
participation from businesses and the technology industry in the
development of Internet policies and structures. Markus Kummer, executive
coordinator of the WGIG, recently explained the areas covered by the term ...
"Researchers Reinvent Tech"
Researchers at MIT, the San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC), IBM
Research, and other major research facilities offer observations about
various technological developments that are likely to be of interest to
enterprise IT adopters. Microsoft is working to improve the reliability of ...
"Sun Evangelist, Social Activist"
Among Sun's research and development initiatives, chief researcher John
Gage counts the work on Opteron architectures as the most interesting,
which includes a streaming device and an improvement on RAID arrays that
could, in theory, lead to perfect, permanent storage. In the processor ...
"The Sky Really Is Falling"
Co-chairman of the President's Information Technology Advisory Committee
(PITAC) Ed Lazowska says inaction is the order of the day among government,
CIOs, and vendors as far as cybersecurity is concerned. He accuses the
Bush administration of undervaluing science, engineering, education, and ...
The Mind of an Inventor"
Developing futuristic but practical technologies is the motivation behind
Applied Minds, a company whose gadgets are a testament to the childlike
imagination of its co-founder, inventor Danny Hillis. Applied Minds' first
commercialized product, developed in collaboration with the Herman Miller ...
-- To review Wednesday's issue (October 5, 2005), please visit
"Security Fix Assures Long Election Nights"
The security software installed on Georgia's new touch-screen voting
machines threatens to considerably slow the process of tabulating ballots,
and there is concern that it will not improve before the municipal
elections to be held next month, or even by the 2006 congressional ...
"GAO Confirms Some E-Voting Problems"
The Government Accountability Office released a report on Friday confirming
the widely held fears about the security and reliability of e-voting
machines, citing many machines that fail to produce audit logs and encrypt
ballots. Some machines were found to be so vulnerable that a ballot could ...
New Articles for This Topic
Last Update Date: Fri, 20 Aug 2004 15:56:34 -0500
"E-Voting Machine Crash Deepens Concerns"
An Oct. 12 pre-election test of touch-screen voting terminals in Palm Beach
County, Fla., had to be rescheduled to Oct. 15 because heat-related
problems caused a computer server that indexes data from the machines to
crash. Exiting county elections supervisor Theresa LePore says no data was ...
"Electronic Voting Systems: the Good, the Bad, and the Stupid"
Former ACM President Barbara Simons writes that enthusiasm
for paperless electronic voting systems, originally
touted as a solution to the hanging chad problem that muddled the last
presidential election, is giving way to demands for voter-verifiable paper ...
"E-Vote at Risk"
IT security researchers worry that the November election will see as many
as 50 million Americans using unreliable direct recording electronic (DRE)
voting machines, which use software that is insecure and has not been
tested and certified in a transparent process. State election officials ...
"E-Voting Sceptics Use Web to Monitor Election"
A geographically dispersed, mostly volunteer team of technologists is using
the Web and open-source toolkits to ready the Election Incident Reporting
System (EIRS), a tool to help the Election Protection Coalition identify
and respond to e-voting problems, for the Nov. 2 election. Erik Nilsson, ...
"Electronic Voting Raises New Issues"
Electronic voting systems' lack of a verifiable paper trail, their
software's uncertain reliability, and questions of local election
officials' competence in operating such machines have fueled an
undercurrent of mistrust that both manufacturers and local election ...
"Stamp of Reproval"
Election officials and outside critics of electronic voting machines blame
outdated federal voting standards for the imperfect solution some 30
percent of American voters will use during the presidential election. The
Maryland State Board of Elections and many other organizations purchased ...
"E-Voting Tests Get Failing Grades"
The certification of secure e-voting systems is riddled with flaws,
including so-called independent testing labs' lack of transparency because
e-voting machine vendors are paying for the tests and authorizing who gets
to view the results; federal voting system standards rife with loopholes ...
"The Perils of Polling"
Over one-quarter of registered U.S. voters will cast their ballots with
direct recording electronic (DRE) systems in the presidential election,
despite the technology's lack of security, reliability, and auditability.
The e-voting quagmire is the result of a number of unfortunate situations, ...
"Despite Apparent E-Vote Success, Questions Remain"
Although there were no reports of serious or widespread problems with
e-voting machines in the Nov. 2 election, their lack of accountability and
auditing makes their accuracy questionable; members of the National
Committee of Voting Integrity (NCVI) caution that voters' doubts about the ...
"Stumping for Specs"
Voter disenfranchisement during the 2000 presidential election has spurred
demands for greater election scrutiny, and a group of 11 leading computer
scientists is competing with the Institute of Electrical and Electronics
Engineers (IEEE) to establish national e-voting system standards that ...
"Mostly Good Reviews for Electronic Voting"
Skepticism over the security and reliability of electronic voting systems
continues to linger, despite assurances from election officials and experts
that most e-voting machines performed smoothly on Election Day. Critics
are still vocal about the systems' vulnerability to tampering and bugs, and ...
For anyone interested, see
"Researchers: Florida Vote Fishy"
A UC Berkeley report released Thursday raises questions over the Florida
vote in the presidential election, with its hypothesis that President Bush
could have received as many as 260,000 more votes than he should have via
e-voting. The researchers analyzed Florida election results in the last ...
"E-voting Faces New Scrutiny"
The Government Accountability Office (GAO) will launch an investigation
into e-voting irregularities in the recent presidential election, according
to five Democratic representatives who asked for the review. Experts have
credited e-voting systems for performing relatively well and said that most ...
"Ohio Pulls Plug on Electronic Voting"
Touch-screen electronic voting machines long criticized for inadequate
security and reliability have been rejected by Ohio Secretary of State Ken
Blackwell in favor of a statewide deployment of optical-scan machines that
process manually filled-out paper ballots tallied up by a precinct-based ...
"Touch Screens More Likely to Be Flawed, Analysis Finds"
A South Florida Sun-Sentinel analysis of Florida voting machines used in
the Nov. 2 presidential election found that touch-screen systems were 50
percent more likely than older paper-based systems to cast a flawed or
unregistered presidential ballot. Some 18,555 instances of flawed or ...
"A Contested Election for Touch-Screen Voting"
Almost 30 percent of U.S. voters used touch-screen electronic voting
machines in the 2004 presidential election, and e-voting advocates claim
the systems' relatively error-free performance is a confirmation of the
technology's reliability. However, critics are calling for deeper analysis ...
"Prototype Printer Fails to Satisfy E-Voting Activists"
Diebold has developed a prototype printer designed to complement its
touch-screen voting machines and satisfy many people's desire for
voter-verifiable paper trails, although critics claim the device does not
address all their concerns about intentional and unintentional voting ...
"A Step Forward in the Voting Wars"
Despite the pressing need for uniform electronic voting machine standards,
their development has been hindered by fierce disagreements between
computer scientists, election officials, and system manufacturers. The
scientists say that election officials are unfamiliar with the realities of ...
"New U.S. Legislation Would Require E-Voting Paper Trail"
The Voting Integrity and Verification Act (VIVA) introduced by Sen. John
Ensign (R-Nev.) on Feb. 9 calls for voter-verifiable paper trails that will
allow people who use touch-screen systems to confirm their choices as well
as permit accurate recounts, which critics say are impossible with ...
"Clinton, Boxer Pushing E-Voting Bill in Senate"
The Count Every Vote Act sponsored by Sens. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and
Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) calls for the provision of a voter-verified paper
ballot for each vote cast in electronic voting systems, and also mandates
that all citizens have access to voter verification regardless of language, ...
"Vote for Change"
New federal rules for voting machines are on track to be enacted before the
2006 mid-term elections, while electronic voting machine companies are
preparing products that will be certified under 2002 federal standards.
However, whether e-voting systems will be more secure and reliable by the ...
"Fate of $25M E-Voting System in Miami-Dade Dangling"
Florida's Miami-Dade County spent $25 million to buy and install
7,200 iVotronic touch-screen voting machines from Election Systems
& Software, but persistent glitches that led to vote miscounts in local
elections--including one in March in which hundreds of votes went ...
"The People's Choice"
E-voting trials in the United Kingdom have shown that such programs can
increase voter turnout among young people while protecting security, but
cost and scalability worries remain. The results come amidst news of
widespread voter apathy: Political research group YouGov found that nearly ...
"Avoid the Rush: Worry About 2006 Elections Now"
Concerns over the reliability and security of electronic voting have
prompted the federal government to get involved in the inner workings of
casting ballots and counting votes for the first time. In April, the
National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is scheduled to draft ...
"Push to Replace Voting Machines Spurs Confusion"
Local election officials are at loss over what voting machine technology to
purchase with federal grants as the deadline for using the money
approaches. Governments have until Jan. 1 to purchase new equipment that
will improve accuracy, but academic experts and state officials continue to ...
"BlackBoxVoting Finds Voting Scan Machines Hackable"
Recent findings by e-voting technology expert Bev Harris and
BlackBoxVoting.org indicate that Diebold optical scanning machines are
susceptible to hacking, which makes them just as big a risk for election
fraud as touch-screen voting machines. Harris confirms that her technical ...
"Technology, Modernity May Change Future Elections"
A June 7 report from a task force comprised of officials and former
officials from 15 U.S. states organized by the Election Center in Houston,
TX, calls for a restructuring of elections to support the wide
deployment of "universal vote centers." Such facilities, which were set up ...
"E-Vote Guidelines Need Work"
Critics say new voting system guidelines developed by the Technical
Guidelines Development Committee for the U.S. Election Assistance
Commission (EAC) are an improvement over earlier guidelines, but are still
inadequate when it comes to addressing many of the security issues that ...
The SAVE System: Secure Architecture for Voting Electronically
Existing technology is capable of yielding secure, reliable, and auditable
voting systems. This system outlines an architecture based on redundancy
at each stage of the ballot submission process that is resistant to
external hacking and internal insertion of malicious code. The proposed
architecture addresses all layers of the system beyond the point when a
voter commits the ballot. These steps include the verification of
eligibility to vote, authentication, and aggregation of the vote. A
redundant electronic audit trail keeps track of all of the votes and
messages received, rendering a physical paper trail unnecessary.