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E-voting worries again surface before elections
Published: 2006-10-31

Security experts continue to raise concerns over the auditability and trustworthiness of electronic voting machines, but their efforts are hurting U.S. election more than helping, Paul DeGregorio, chairman of the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC), argued in a op-ed piece.

The column states the commission's position that the U.S. election system is sound and well guarded by the efforts of poll workers and election administrators. Security researchers, however, have argued that electronic voting systems--specifically the touchscreen systems that will be used by nearly four of every ten voters in the midterm election--have significant vulnerabilities, cannot be meaningfully audited and are difficult to trust do to a closed certification system.

In the piece, DeGregorio argued that such claims are hurting elections more than helping.

"Is there any proof that a voting system has successfully been hacked during an election? No," DeGregario wrote. "Can the hype over hacking discourage voters from participating in our elections? It certainly can."

Security experts have long worried that the push for more technology opens elections to greater tampering. Major flaws have been identified in several types of voting systems, among them--perhaps most famously--are those manufactured by a subsidiary of cash-machine maker Diebold. Security experts have called on the EAC to revised its voting system guidelines. The deadline for a request for comments on the latest draft certification plan are due October 31.

While the EAC apparently does not fear tampering by U.S. firms, such worries have driven the Commission on Foreign Investment in the United States, which scuttled Check Point Software Technologies purchase of intrusion-detection system maker Sourcefire earlier this year, to initiate a review of the purchase of voting machine maker Smartmatic Corporation by a group of Venezuelan investors. The move comes after Venezuela's leftist president Hugo Chávez criticized the United States in a speech at the United Nations.

Midterm elections for the United States occur on November 7 and involve more than a million volunteer election workers and administrators.

Posted by: Robert Lemos
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