Saturday, May 22, 2004
Is E-Voting Safe?
PCWorld.com Tech.gov: The Computer Ate My Vote - May 05, 2004
The Computer Ate My Vote
Wednesday, May 19, 2004
Saifur for e-vote
Finance Minister M Saifur Rahman yesterday said all political parties and civil society members should unite in favour of introducing electronic voting system to ensure a smooth, sharp and reliable electoral system.
House requests e-vote probe
As the U.S. Congress considers legislation to restrict the use of electronic voting machines, 13 House of Representatives members have ordered an investigation into e-voting security.
Monday, May 17, 2004
Fed panel hears e-vote not fully reliable
Aviel D. Rubin, a computer science professor at Johns Hopkins University, summed up the testimony of several science witnesses when he criticized electronic voting systems as terrible and highly vulnerable to hackers.
"Not only have the vendors not implemented security safeguards that are possible, they have not even correctly implemented the ones that are easy," he said.
Avi Rubin's testimony (PDF) before the Federal Election Assistance Commission on May 5, 2004.
Sunday, May 16, 2004
U.S. legislators wary of electronic voting
"Electronic voting in its current form is like hiring a private company to count votes behind closed doors," said Stanford University professor David Dill, who publishes a Web site called Verified Voting.
Am I the only one out there questioning the need for electronic voting machines at our polling places? Perhaps not.
I've noticed that more and more states are considering paper backups to the electronic votes. If we're going to have paper, why not just dispense with the computers? All this does is increases the complexity of the voting process. And what do we do when another close presidential election occurs and the e-vote count doesn't match up with the paper one?
Activists Urge Congress to Add E-Vote Printers
Voting activists from 16 states urged the U.S. Congress on Wednesday to require electronic voting terminals to print out ballots as a way to avoid the recount battles that marred the last presidential election.
Electronic voting terminals, though easy to use, are vulnerable to glitches or manipulation and need a paper trail to ensure they are working properly, activists with the group Verified Voting said.
"Electronic voting systems produce a vote which can't be verified and can't be meaningfully recounted," said Pam Smith, nationwide campaign coordinator for the nonprofit group.
Jury still out on hi-tech polling
No form of e-voting will emerge in Australia until at least the end of the decade, says Australian Electoral Commission election systems and policy director Tim Evans.
A proposal to begin an e-voting project, offering online access to those who would otherwise vote by postal ballot, has been rejected by the parliamentary Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters.
The reason: the politicians don't trust the technology.
E-Vote Problems Overwhelm Feds
As alarm mounts over the integrity of the ATM-like voting machines 50 million Americans will use in the November election, a new federal agency has begun scrutinizing how to safeguard electronic polling from fraud, hackers and faulty software.
But the tiny U.S. Election Assistance Commission says it is so woefully underfunded that it can't be expected to forestall widespread voting-machine problems, which would cast doubt on the election's integrity.
New defenders of our democracy stride out of the e-vote shambles
The endeavour to introduce electronic voting has been a monumental mess.
There is no dressing this one up and the Government should do the decent thing and admit that electronic voting isn't going to happen not any time soon, probably never on these machines and certainly not using the current counting software.
Last Friday's report from the Independent Commission on Electronic Voting systemically sets out how it has been unable to vouch for the testing of the proposed system, its accuracy or its secrecy.
The report raises a whole series of concerns, many of them echoing the criticisms which have been voiced by opponents of the system since it was first proposed.
I suspect that once legal impediments are removed and the full detail of the commission's work is published, its findings will prove even more devastating.
Individuals make a difference, enabled by the Internet:
Margaret McGaley, a Maynooth academic who had done her doctorate on e-voting, pushed on with a campaign of opposition to the proposed system. The taunt "luddite" had been thrown at those of us who had opposed the system before this. Now, however, here was a group from within the IT sector itself.
In fact this e-voting episode is above all else a tale of how this small group of determined technology experts and academics took on the Goliaths of politics and public relations and won the argument. They risked the initial ridicule of some in their own professions and in the media but gradually began to register their point.
Part of the reason for the success of McGaley's group, Irish Citizens for Trustworthy Voting, was that much of the planning and execution of their campaign was done on the web. Particularly interesting was an open discussion list on their website where each day they monitored media converge, discussed their strategy, developed refutations to the minister's case and even drafted their press releases. The transparency of their campaign contrasted sharply with the closed decision-making on the Government side. This was a broad-based campaign which they kept focused on the issues and particularly on their call for a voter-verified audit trail.
Also worthy of an individual mention is a tenacious man called Joe McCarthy. A computer consultant who is also a former expert tallyman, he combined an understanding of technology with a detailed knowledge of our complicated electoral regulations. As well as this mix of skills, he had a forensic approach and a good radio voice, all of which made him very effective in this debate.
Panel warned on e-vote receipts
A Georgia elections official warned a federal commission Wednesday that a rush to back up electronic voting machines with paper ballots before the November election would create unnecessary confusion for voters and poll workers.
Yes, and an unfair and incorrect election would be much better than creating any stress for the voters and poll workers.
Manufacturers, such as Diebold, insist a paper trail isn't necessary, but say they will oblige states that want it when new federal standards are established. That's the job of the bipartisan commission, although the four-member panel lacks the power to enforce any standards it sets.
Chairman DeForest B. Soaries Jr. said he didn't expect the commission to issue national standards requiring paper ballots when it makes preliminary recommendations next week, followed by more detailed guidelines next month. The commission, the Republican said, will issue ``best practice'' guidelines for state and local officials, such as urging poll workers to keep a stack of paper ballots available in case electronic machines fail to operate.
"We will not decide on what machines people will buy,'' Soaries said at the commission's first public hearing Wednesday.
The commission has said it is woefully underfunded, with only $1.2 million of its $10 million budget appropriated. Its members have cautioned that they might not have the resources to immediately forestall widespread voting problems. Soaries has said the commission will need $2 million more this year and $10 million in 2005 to fulfill its mission of restoring public faith in electronic voting.
A Bush speaks
Florida Gov. Jeb Bush indicated he's not concerned about using the paperless machines in November.
"I'm afraid a lot of the concerns about this are really to try to create a cloud of controversy during the election to motivate people to vote and there's got to be a better way to do that,'' Bush said. "You can talk about issues and ideas, maybe, instead of scaring people.''
California county sues state over e-vote ban
The E-Vote Backlash Grows