Linked by snydeq on Mon 27th Oct 2008 17:24 UTC
Legal The mounting irregularities of closed-source proprietary e-voting systems clearly show the need for a new approach to securing elections in the U.S. -- one centered on the use of open source technologies, writes Paul Venezia. 'It's time for us to make good on the promise of open elections and open our e-voting systems as well,' Venezia writes, outlining the technical blueprint for a cheap, secure, open source e-voting system. The call for open voting systems has grown louder as of late, with several projects, such as Pvote and the Open Voting Consortium, demonstrating how the voting booth could benefit from open source code. Such systems are already securing elections in Australia and Brazil.
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by panzi on Mon 27th Oct 2008 20:41 UTC
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You could never make any form of electronic voting that is as secure as pen & paper voting! Can you see how the bytes travel with you plain eyes? No. But you can see how the votes travel. Into a box that was empty before. Afterwards the votes are counted. Simple enough. Security in electronic systems depend on authentication! But your vote *has* to be anonymous! If it isn't it's not democracy.

What security measures do you need for storage the simple boxes before the election? None. What security measures do you need for the voting computers? A whole butload! Systems that display a hashcode (fingerprint) are no solution either. The fingerprint could be fake.

In Germany the Chaos Computer Club demonstrated the easy manipulation of voting computers made by the company "Nedap":

And the fact that poll worker usually are no IT experts is another problem. The keyboard/screen of a voting computer is a lot smaller than a big paper ballot that could be folded several times: The text on voting computers is a lot smaller and can not be read by elderly people.

Voting computers usually work as the following: 1. Press the button of your candidate. 2. press "enter" (or some kind of confirmation button).
The second step is often neglected by voters because they don't know that they have to do it. So they did not vote at all!

Manipulations in paper systems are hard. You have to infiltrate a lot of polling stations and then statistical methods can detect the abnormalities. But it's very easy for a single person to manipulate the voting computers at the producers site. You could even write it in a way, that it erases any trace of manipulation after the election ended!

Say no to voting computers! Computer based elections are no democratic elections! You loose the "openness" democratic elections need. Everyone can comprehend how paper based voting works. Electronic voting is only comprehended by programmers.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Pardon?
by panzi on Mon 27th Oct 2008 21:44 in reply to "Pardon?"
panzi Member since:

PS: Manipulated voting computers will use exactly the same algorithms one use to detect abnormalities, they'll use the same statistical functions. Therefore such a manipulation stays undetected.

Even when you use a paper trail you need some indication that the voting was tampered with so the paper trail gets counted. In some countries/states where there are paper trails only the electronic votes are valid in therms of the law.

In Germany there was the idea of a electronic voting pen: It will read an invisible code from the paper when you make the X and count your vote. The problem is that the code is invisible. When you make manipulated ballots (where everywhere is the same code) a human can not detect this. You could forge such a ballot using a normal consumer scanner and printer!

Reply Parent Score: 2