Monday, August 02, 2004

All electronic voting machines should be subject to an independent security review

Why you're right:

1. The machines likely have major security vulnerabilities. The four manufacturers of voting machine software keep their source code "strictly secret by contract with the local jurisdiction and states using the machines." But Diebold’s AccuVote-TS DRE voting system was leaked and posted on the internet. A subsequent study by John's Hopkins University found Diebold's "voting system is far below even the most minimal security standards applicable in other contexts." According to the report the security of the Diebold software was so week that "common voters, without any insider privileges, [could] cast unlimited votes without being detected." (The Nation, John Hopkins University)

2. The companies responsible for certifying voting machines have a conflict of interest. The for-profit companies that certify voting machines are "chosen and paid by voting machine companies, a glaring conflict of interest." There is no way for the public to know "how the testing is done, or that the manufacturers are not applying undue pressure to have flawed equipment approved." One of the largest testers of voting machines, Wyle Laboratories, "does not answer questions about its voting machine work." (New York Times)

Why They're Wrong:

Voting machine manufacturers have not earned our trust. Manufacturers of electronic voting machines like Diebold claim that their machines are "safe, secure and accurate." But the CEO of Diebold said in a fundraising letter for George W. Bush that he was "committed to helping Ohio deliver its electoral votes to the president next year." Leaked internal Diebold memos "acknowledge that their products aren't very secure, and...appear to discuss methods of hiding the problems rather than fixing them." California decertified all Diebold machines because "Diebold's persistent and aggressive marketing led to installation in a number of counties of touchscreen systems that were neither tested, qualified at the federal level, nor certified at the state level." (New York Times, Salon, California Secretary of State)