Skip to comments.Beware Electronic Voting
Posted on 10/03/2012 11:04:35 AM PDT by Kaslin
To paraphrase 15th Century Dutch Philosopher Erasmus well-known characterization of women -- "technology, can't live with it, can't live without it." Ever since the debacle that was the vote counting in Florida a dozen years ago, virtually every jurisdiction in the country has moved away from some form of manual voting machine to embrace the technology of electronic voting ("e-voting" for short).
Yet, as states and local elections offices have spent millions of taxpayer dollars to institute e-voting, little attention has been paid the potential dangers inherent in this form of vote counting. Indeed, even as many Republican voters and legislators decry the possibility of voting abuse posed by suspected voter fraud and have ousted for voter ID mandates, the specter of lost votes posed by e-voting continues to go largely unnoticed or deliberately ignored.
However, as noted in a recent editorial in USA Today by Philip Meyer, professor emeritus in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of North Carolina, electronic voting machines have the very real potential to steal your vote. The problem identified by Meyer is magnified this election cycle, given the high likelihood of another exceptionally tight presidential race.
As reflected in many recent polls, votes in a handful of key states, including Ohio, Florida and Virginia are poised to decide the contest between President Barack Obama and his Republican challenger, Mitt Romney. Yet, these states and others remain ill-prepared to deal with potential problems because they lack sufficient auditing procedures to ensure the integrity of their e-voting systems.
Many pundits and voting officials tend to dismiss such concerns, but the fact remains there have been demonstrated errors in the recent past. Perhaps the most well-known example, explains Philip Meyer, occurred in Volusia County, Florida when a corrupted memory card subtracted 16,000 votes from Al Gores count in 2000.
While procedures have improved in the last 12 years and many states have taken some steps to ensure the integrity of their elections, there remain instances where votes are lost and cannot be recovered, or where machines simply fail. Meyer notes more recent examples, such as electronic voting machines failing in 80% of precincts in a South Carolina county during the 2008 GOP presidential primary, and a software glitch in a Florida county giving votes in the wrong race in a municipal election. Three years ago in a local election in South Dakota, a software malfunction nearly doubled the number of votes actually cast, according to a USA Today study.
It is not just software glitches and corrupted memory cards that should be on the minds of election officials. Hackers pose another very real problem whereby an election could be tilted towards a favored candidate. At the national level, the last few years have demonstrated that no government, including our own, is safe from the threat posed by hackers. Between late 2010 and early 2011, for example, WikiLeaks, an international organization led by Julian Assange, obtained and released publicly thousands of sensitive diplomatic cables and intelligence files obtained from the State Department and U.S. embassies.
Even more recently, hackers were able to hack and obtain five million e-mails from Stratfor, a private intelligence firm based in Texas. These e-mails were released by WikiLeaks earlier this year in what was a major embarrassment for a company that deals with sensitive information.
Organizations worried about the potential for e-voting problems have long-advocated for audit procedures by which votes cast by e-voting machines could be verified through audit trails. But in many states, budget cutbacks and blind reliance on digital technology have stopped legislators and elections officials from moving forward with remedial measures.
The election between President Obama and Romney already is shaping up to be a hard-fought contest that will most assuredly be extremely close, coming down to a handful of states. As campaigns and groups supporting particular candidates push to get out the vote in battleground states, it is imperative that officials work diligently to ensure the integrity of the election. Yet, without demands from political party officials and voters, little if any remedial action is likely to be taken.
It is high time watchdog groups shift focus from concern over fraudulent voters infecting the integrity of our voting process, to the very real danger of abuse inherent in un-verifiable e-voting systems. We need to get a handle on problems posed by electronic voting before we enter the next great frontier of technology online voting; a process already permitted to an extent in some two dozen states. Widespread use of online voting will create the potential for abuse that will make the problems inherent in e-voting pale in comparison.
The plan is: steal the election.
The polls are preparing the way.
Unless I’m mistaken, these machines are not hooked up to the internet, which makes hacking a non-problem. You can’t hack a machine you have no means of accessing, no matter how good you are.
A link with information about electronic voting fraud in Cumberland County NJ:
And the rot is all over the state.
I’d encourage you strongly to look at the articles about electronic voting on the Princeton Center for Information Technology Policy, especially the 9/27/12 entry about which states could affect the electoral college results if, no make that WHEN, fraud occurs.
See also the 4 part series about NJ that I linked to above about the county computer laptop that committed fraud.
It is not the machines it's the memory cards that get removed then transported to a facility to be read and tabulated. The SOP for Dems is to intercept these cards (or flat out grease a sympathetic local election official) in the process and then use another machine to rewrite the data on the cards. Easy enough to do.
True, but intercepting paper ballots or punch cards and swapping them with counterfiet stuff would be just as easy, if you were so inclined.
As long as the electronic voting is roughly as secure as other methods, I'm not going to reject it out of hand.
” True, but intercepting paper ballots or punch cards and swapping them with counterfiet stuff would be just as easy, if you were so inclined. “
Not at all ‘just as easy.’ They are hard facts - the original - and the poll watchers can WATCH that.
BTW We know why there are POLL WATCHERS - watch to prevent fraud.
So who is watching the electronic computer stuff? In Spain?
The Michigan Study:
Compnay in spain run by citizens of the world to count lots of US votes:
thanks for the links
If the actual vote does not go Obama's way, hundreds of lawyers are already waiting in the wings to go to court and have the elections over-turned.
If that happens, a wise Obama would do well to turn the office over to the Speaker of the house until the legal battles are resolved.
But I fear Obama will seize the opportunity to finish-off the America he actually hates by bringing in the UN forces to "impose order" in every state.
The fallacy in your thinking is that you cannot know how "roughly as secure" the system is. If there is computer fraud, all bets are off as to who is the real winner.
How naive. The fraud will be embedded in the software. The perpetrator does not have to "hack" from the outside.
Who, pray tell, developed the software? Who validated it independently and certified it as "honest"?
Historically, some electronic voting machines have been found to have poor intrinsic security. A few years ago voting security researchers demonstrated that the memory cards used to program a common optical scan ballot counting machine could be modified so that a candidate started the race with a negative vote total, yet the start up tape printed by the machine showed a zero vote total for each candidate.
For those machines all that was required to hack the machine was a hacked memory card delivered to the polling place. In our state machines with that firmware were all upgraded to avoid that particular bug, and stringent physical security plans instituted to mitigate the risk of similar attacks, but from a general point of view, internet connection or not, an electronic voting machine is possible to hack.
There are a number of techniques that can be or actually are used to ensure secure vote counting. Poll watchers and observers are important, as are people willing to watch and study post election ballot handling and counting. Physical security for voting machines is important, as are pre and post election tests and if appropriate, audits and recounts.
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