Introduction Florida 2000 election fiasco, drew conclusion that paper ballots couldn’t be counted Computerized voting system, DRE (Direct Recording Electronic System) was assumed to be the only way out.
The Good Accurate election counts Replaced machines that were virtually impossible to rig Reported the results shortly after the polls close Proved cheaper and more reliable than the old systems
Few Horror Stories In January 2004, only one contest was included on the ballot. Yet, of the 10,844 votes, 134 were for no one. In November 2003, in Boone County, Indiana, more than 144,000 votes were cast—even though Boone County contains fewer than 19,000 registered voters, and, of those, only 5,532 actually voted. When the polls opened in Hinds County, Mississippi, in November 2003, voters arrived to find that the DREs were down. One report claimed the machines had overheated, making all the voters stand in long lines till 8 p.m. until a new election was scheduled.
The Bad Security threat - Diebold voting machine software is available on an open FTP Web site Diebold uses a single DES key to encrypt all data. Thus, an attacker with access to the source code would have the ability to modify voting and auditing records Diebold officials don’t understand cryptographic security Diebold system is so complicated that security risks is always there because of poorly trained election officials Reports revealed physical security problems Threat involving the supervisor’s card
Software bug that prevents Audit Diebold and ES&S had count of something between two-thirds and 80 percent of the ballots cast in the November 2004 election The audit log contained results for some nonexistent machines, and it also failed to report all the results for the machines that were in operation. Bug One—triggered by a low battery condition— caused corruption in the event log Bug Two caused the election management system to misread the machine’s serial number Computer crash made backup, necessary
Alternatives DREs can be equipped with earphones and various devices DREs that produce voter-verifiable paper ballot Optical scan voting machines can be used Precinct-based optical scanners allows the voter to recheck his vote. Hybrid models offers a touch screen like a DRE the machine marks the optical scan ballot Another system includes a screen that operates with an attached stylus. Cryptographic voting systems provide an encrypted receipt The OVC (Open Voting Consortium is building an open source voting system that will run on PC hardware and produce a voter-verifiable paper ballot.
Conclusion Technological issue mixes with politics Election officials had a painful learning experience Education process continues