DECEMBER 17, 2007
With another presidential election approaching, the high-tech electronic voting machines that many states bought after the 2000 dimpled ballot/hanging chad fiasco continue having serious problems and yet another state election official wants all machines replaced because they are vulnerable to manipulation.
About $3 billion were spent nationally to purchase the touch-screen machines to replace the old punch-card voting system that faltered in the 2000 presidential election. Yet experts have for years worried that hackers, software bugs and poorly trained poll workers could intentionally or accidentally erase or alter voting data captured by the electronic machines.
Florida and California are among the states that have revealed serious flaws with their machines in recent elections and now Ohio’s secretary of state has published a report detailing “critical security failures” in its electronic voting system that could impact the integrity of elections.
The report features the findings of a federal government study, which cost taxpayers nearly $2 million to conduct. Two teams of scientists conducted parallel assessments of the state’s three electronic voting systems and found that the tools needed to compromise an accurate vote count could be as simple as tampering with the paper audit trail connecter or using a magnet and a personal digital assistant.
Just a few months ago a similar report critical of electronic voting machines was published in Florida, one of the country’s most important swing states. An investigation revealed that voting machines in the Sunshine State are seriously flawed and can be easily tampered with. Investigators actually found that hackers can easily change votes without a trace in the Diebold optical-scan machines used in 25 of the state’s 67 counties.
Yet, here we are, less than one year before the next presidential election (scheduled for November 4 2008), and states across the nation continue reporting serious security flaws with voting machines. The question is, what will they do to correct the problems before the next election?
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