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  1. #1
    Senior Member JohnDoe2's Avatar
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    Aug 2008
    PARADISE (San Diego)

    Electronic voting is the real threat to elections

    Electronic voting is the real threat to elections

    Imagine how easy voting would be if Americans could cast ballots the same way they buy songs from iTunes or punch in a PIN code to check out at the grocery store: You could click on a candidate from a home computer or use a touch screen device at the local polling place.

    It's not entirely a fantasy. In many states, some voters can already do both. The process is seductively simple, but it's also shockingly vulnerable to problems from software failure to malicious hacking. While state lawmakers burn enormous energy in a partisan fight over in-person vote fraud, which is virtually nonexistent, they're largely ignoring far likelier ways votes can be lost, stolen or changed.

    How? Sometimes, technology or the humans running it simply fail:
    •In March, malfunctioning software sent votes to the wrong candidate and the wrong municipal election in Palm Beach County, Fla. The mistake was corrected only after a court-approved hand count.
    •In an election in Pennington County, S.D., in 2009, a software glitch almost doubled the number of votes actually cast.
    In Carteret County, N.C., 4,530 electronic votes simply disappeared in 2004 when the voting machine ran out of storage capacity and no one noticed until too late.
    •In 2010, a University of Michigan assistant professor of computer science and three assistants hacked into Washington, D.C.'s online voting system during a test. They manipulated it undetected, even programming it to play the Michigan fight song. While inside, the hackers blocked probes from Iran, India and China. Washington officials canceled plans for online voting.

    Experiences like these argue for great caution about expanding electronic voting, but too many states are choosing convenience over reliability. Sixteen states, for example, use electronic voting devices with no paper backup, according to a study by the Verified Voting Foundation, Common Cause and the Rutgers School of Law.

    This means there's no way to know whether the machine has recorded a vote accurately or, for that matter, recorded it at all. And there's no way for elections officials to conduct a verifiable recount if things go wrong.

    It's far better to have, as many other states do, machines that generate a simultaneous paper record that voters can see when they vote, and that officials can audit to make sure the machines are getting the votes right.

    At least for now, the next frontier in electronic voting seems to be way too wild. Twenty-five states allow online voting, chiefly for military personnel and others overseas, which means 3 million people or more could cast ballots via the Web this fall. But Alex Halderman, who led the successful penetration of Washington's online system, warns that current technology just can't keep votes safe.

    Home computers are frequently infested with malware, and central systems such as Washington's are notoriously hard to secure. Those who claim otherwise overlook the fact that hackers have penetrated or shut down systems at the Pentagon, FBI, Department of Homeland Security and CIA. All these agencies have cybersecurity budgets that dwarf those of any local elections board.

    The danger is as troubling as it is obvious. Elections can be stolen, without anyone noticing. Some things are best done the old-fashioned way.

    Electronic voting's the real threat to elections

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  2. #2
    Senior Member artclam's Avatar
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    Apr 2006
    Quote Originally Posted by JohnDoe2 View Post
    It's far better to have, as many other states do, machines that generate a simultaneous paper record that voters can see when they vote, and that officials can audit to make sure the machines are getting the votes right.
    Or, instead of having multi-thousand dollar machine to generate a "simultaneous paper record" you could just have the voter use a 3 cent pencil to place an X next to candidates names on a piece of paper as is done in most of the developed world.

  3. #3
    Senior Member ReformUSA2012's Avatar
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    Jan 2011
    So if we use pencils and paper who's to stop someone from just stuffing an unknown number of false ballots in the box or stop people from voting in 5 different places with 5 different address's?

    The only sure solution is going off the ID's address. You MUST have Valid state or federal picture ID (which requires proof of citizenship to get). The address on the ID is the voting place you can vote at. If you moved and didn't update that ID then tough sh*t. That ID is tied to a SSN and once an SSN is voted then that vote is done.

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