Sunday, July 29, 2007

Most Vote Machines Lose Test To Hackers

by John Wildermuth - July 28th, 2007 - San Francisco Chronicle

State-sanctioned teams of computer hackers were able to break through the security of virtually every model of California's voting machines and change results or take control of some of the systems' electronic functions, according to a University of California study released Friday.

The researchers "were able to bypass physical and software security in every machine they tested,'' said Secretary of State Debra Bowen, who authorized the "top to bottom review" of every voting system certified by the state.

Though the latest generation of computer voting equiment is much better than the last generation, it still leaves much to be desired. No one who knows much about computer voting is comfortable with the systems. At least part of the problem is the goal of the government organizations that buy these machines is not to realiably make sure that the votes cast are accurate and that an audit trail exists to prove the accuracy. Instead the goal is to be able to instantly report the results the minute the polls close.

Local bureacrats who can do this get much favorable press coverage from the media. Whether the results are accurate or not does not seem to be a high priority concern.

Audit trails have to be non-destructive and thus physical, requiring paper some place in the process with some effective means of protecting the paper version of the vote. The paper has to be tied to the computer results in some way. In most designs that is in conflict with the secret ballot premise of our elections. The legislature has used this excuse to go to systems that are in conflict with audit trail principles, and therefore almost certain to allow hackers to violate the integrity of the systems.

Of course the most serious problems in our current corrupt voting process is the fact that illegal aliens, the dead, the mentally handicapped, and felons are all over the voting rolls and vote in huge numbers, corrupting the process. The machines have no affect on that. It is also becoming quite popular to allow people to show up and vote on the day of elections without having registered. In many cases the process of doing this negates the ability of stopping their vote from countng, even when it is discovered later they were not citizens or were duplicate votes.

Our voting process is becoming more and more corrupt and the average voter is becoming more and more disgusted with the corruption. The problems in computer voting are just a symptom of our inability to devise a system that has integrity and meets the goals of ease of voting demanded by liberals. Ease of voting is not compatible with integrity of voting and the democrats who sabotage our systems and processes know it.


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