[LINK] E-voting fears run high as election day looms
brd at iimetro.com.au
Wed Oct 29 13:23:42 EST 2008
E-voting fears run high as election day looms
'Flipped' votes reported in three states
By Dan Goodin in San Francisco
28th October 2008 23:36 GMT
With just a week to go before the US presidential election, academics,
politicians, and voters are voicing increased distrust of the electronic
voting machines that will be used to cast ballots.
In early balloting in West Virginia, Texas, and Tennessee, voters using
e-voting machines made by Nebraska-based Election Systems & Software
(ES&S) have reported the "flipping" of their vote from the presidential
candidate they selected to the candidate's rival. In some cases, voters
said their choice had been changed from Democrat Barack Obama to
Republican John McCain while others reported just the opposite.
The reports prompted the Brennan Center for Justice and a group called
Verified Voting on Tuesday to write voting officials in 16 states where
the ES&S iVotronic machine is used to be on the lookout for problems.
"There is a real chance that voters using iVotronic machines in your
state will experience 'vote flopping' similar to that experienced by
voters in West Virginia," the letter warned. It went on to urge poll
workers to recalibrate machines when in doubt, and when possible to
confirm voters' candidate choices with a verified paper trail.
The vote flipping warning comes on the heels of a 158-page report (PDF)
computer scientists from Princeton University released two weeks ago
warning of serious deficiencies in another commonly used e-voting
machine. The Sequoia AVC Advantage 9.00H touch-screen voting machine,
made by California-based Sequoia Voting Systems, is "easily hacked" in
about seven minutes by replacing a single read-only memory chip or
swapping out a separate processor chip.
The findings have prompted one candidate for the mayor of Bayonne, New
Jersey, to ask the state's secretary of state to oversee the town's
The study was ordered by a New Jersey judge who is presiding over a
lawsuit challenging the use of e-voting machines in that state.
Plaintiffs in the case argue the machines don't meet election law
requirements for accuracy. State officials counter that they do.
ES&S has strongly refuted (PDF) the report, saying the researchers,
among other things, improperly removed security seals and hardware
before conducting their tests.
Even far from the nation's heartland, there were still more reports of
botched e-voting. Finland's Ministry of Justice said Tuesday that about
2 percent of votes cast in an election held Sunday could not be counted
because voters hadn't followed instructions. The machines, developed by
IT services group TietoEnator, required voters to press a button marked
OK twice before removing a smart card from the machine terminal. Voters
who failed to do so were unable to cast their ballots.
Tuija Brax, the country's justice minister, expressed surprise at the
snafu, telling NewsRoom Finland the machines had been "tested, tested
and tested again." ®
brd at iimetro.com.au
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