Voting in the 21st. century, is it safe?

Ohio electronic voting machines vulnerable to tampering in 2008

COLUMBUS, Ohio — A Treo and a magnet would be
tools enough to tamper with the workings of electronic voting machines
used in Ohio as well as across the country, the political swing state's
top elections official said Friday.

In a $1.9 million review
with national implications, both corporate and academic scientists
identified a host of ways in which votes cast on touch-screen
technology are vulnerable to manipulation. Such machines have been
purchased across the U.S. to comply with the federal Help America Vote


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The Blade today says they are possible to be tampered with & are at a pretty good (read easy) risk of being tampered with. I seem to recall reading something about how they tested these machines several months after the smoking ban was passed & determined the same thing. I really have to wonder if that is how the smoking ban got passed. Who knows how many elections were tampered with? I say, we 'do it again' with new machines.

NO! It's not safe. Anybody with even a passing knowledge of computers and electronic devices knows that. Our modern reliance on, and thirst for, the latest and greatest do not make these devices better than the old sheet of paper and pencil. Making these devices tamper proof would require a lot of money -more than the government wants to spend. It's as easy as a strong magnet that would erase everything on the disk. And, apparently, it's not too hard to hack into these things.

...have in their report that the lock on the voting machine would have to be picked before the Treo could be used? I seem to remember seeing that either on the news or reading that in today's (Saturday's) Blade. Maybe a "quick" fix would be to make the voting machine less vulnerable with a better physical lock, or better a lock that would require two keys (i.e., two people) to open the lock. This would then require a "conspiracy" to circumvent the physical security.

Old South End Broadway

The way I understood it (keeping in mind I'm electronic & computer illiterate), hacking into the voting machines is as simple as how they hack into ATMs - by attaching a very small, flat device beneath it or something - that nobody notices. Not sure exactly.

...into a single machine - it's only a single machine. The ones used in Lucas County are not networked, so getting into one doesn't get you into all.

The scary part is the section that says they want to "...including replacing precinct-level voting and vote counting with a more centralized system." If this means networking all the machines together, THAT would be a problem.

The other thing is that no individual aspect of any voting process is tamper-proof. But, it's the combination of multiple checks and balances and tamper-prevention methods that, together, protect the process.

Yes, someone could attach a device to the bottom of a single machine in order to try and manipulate the results on that machine...but what is the likelihood of doing that to every voting machine in every precinct? Even with the locks - while you might be able to get away with picking one lock, what is the likelihood of picking the locks on every machine - or on a significant number?

The problem I have with all this is that so many people look at only one aspect - in the case of this study, it was the actual machines - while failing to look at the system as a whole. Any voting system is more than just the machine - it's the people who vote, the devoted precinct workers, the staff at the BOE (where everything is done with one republican and one democrat)...all tied together with that machine.

Sadly, from the report, it appears that the 'system' wasn't checked, just the machines. What kind of problems do you think they'd find if they checked just the precinct worker aspect for potential vulnerabilities???

The rush to revamp the voting system is making for more of a hodge podge of systems than we have now.
Other reports are out there that document the lack of training or rushed training, why people wait to almost the time of the election to bring people in for training is just poor planning.
"...into a single machine - it's only a single machine. "
And while it is a single machine, none the less it is the sanctity of the vote that is at stake. We are taught to hold it in high regard and then in recent years there are votes in Florida and other places that expose how sloppy the process has become.
It might be that with more and more reports of the loss of ballots, the deliberate destruction of ballots and so on, that causes people to figure, why bother to vote when the system to do so is so out of kilter.
Would a national election process or system be the answer when it comes to federal elections and not leave it to the states to come up with systems.

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