[LINK] E-voting fears run high as election day looms

Stilgherrian stil at stilgherrian.com
Thu Oct 30 08:00:49 EST 2008


On 30/10/2008, at 7:23 AM, Craig Sanders wrote:
> On Wed, Oct 29, 2008 at 05:50:19PM +1100, Stilgherrian wrote:
>> And what, again is the "problem" for which electronic voting is the
>> "solution"?
>
> the "advantage" is that it removes all of the safeguards of a
> paper-based ballot manually counted and overseen by representatives of
> all parties.

Indeed.


> and it allows election rigging to be passed off as just a computer
> error, not a conspiracy.

Some time after the 2004 election, there was a "hacker challenge"  
competition to write a program which *appeared* to correctly tabulate  
election results, and which passed muster during tests, but which on  
election day would bias votes in favour of a particular candidate.  
Maybe a dozen good entries came in and, when I looked at some of them  
-- only a dozen or two lines of code -- for the life of me I couldn't  
see how they did the trick.

If it proved to be so easy in code which was produced in a few weeks,  
with the code visible, imagine how much easier it'd be if the code was  
developed in secret "for commercial confidentiality", and there was no  
clear way to audit whether the code submitted for official approval  
was actually the same code in the machine's memory as the election was  
being run!

(For the life of me I can't find that competition thingy just now, but  
maybe someone else can...)

I also seem to recall that one of the major voting machine  
manufacturers (Diebold?) had a company board populated largely by GOP  
heavies?

Stil


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