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I've been watching the e-voting concerns increase as the related technology proliferates across the country and have come to the conclusion that we are once again seeing the government act first and think second. There is nothing inherently more unsecure with regard to electronically taking votes than in physically taking votes. What can make one more unsecure than the other are the practices that surround them. The important thing that is being forgotten is that, done right, e-voting can actually reflect more accurately the views of the people. It has the potential to make the U.S. more democratic.
I know Mr. Enderle is well informed about many IT matters, but I am afraid he is writing with no real knowledge of elections or election security.
There are many reasons for secret voting, although Mr. Enderle mentions only the threat of coercion by opposing political operatives. Much more important is potential coercion within families (husband and wife, parent and child), coercion in institutional situations (e.g. nursing homes), and coercion by employers and other superiors. Beyond coercion is the danger of vote selling--massive, electronically brokered and mediated vote selling. Then there is the danger of discrimination on the basis of voting history--discrimination in hiring, employment, etc. And even if one were somehow to get past those concerns, the "get confirming notification of how you voted by email" proposal recommended by Mr. Enderle could be overwhelmed by phony email "confirmations" that appear authentic, so that vast numbers of voters are led to believe that their vote was recorded incorrectly when it was not, leaving chaos behind.
As for threats of attack on voting systems, Mr. Enderle seems to think that the greatest danger is from voter attacks, by analogy with customer attacks on ATM machines. But that is not even remotely the most dangerous attack: the real danger is insider fraud, especially malicious code inserted by the voting system's programmers and designed to escape detection by testing. (Yes, it is possible--even easy.)
The only known even partial solution to the problem of insider fraud is a voter-verified paper audit trail (or paper ballots). Paper is ideal, not because it is traditional, because of its security properties: it is a write-once medium readable by machines, but also directly readable by humans without the need to trust any software.
As for Internet voting, which Mr. Enderle suggests is coming and seems to endorse, all I can say is that the danger there is 100 times greater. See www.servesecurityreport.org for authoritative discussion about the vast number of inherent threats to Internet voting systems for which there are no currently available solutions.
While Mr. Enderle is an acknowledged expert on a lot of subjects, voting system security is not one of them. He appears not to have even read the relevant literature.
__Rob Enderle either skipped some research on this issue or has political motivations not revealed in this commentary.
__A team of computer scientists from Johns Hopkins and Rice, some of whom are former NSA members, have reviewed E-Voting software and found it unsecure and unreliable:
__Also, Enderle conveniently dodged the issue of the lack of paper trails. The ATM machines use to back this argument produce paper receipts. The new DRE voting machines do not issue paper records that can be audited. Major bills ammending HAVA are pending in Congress to remedy this situation, so that paper records held by election officials can be recounted.
__Millions of Americans were denied their right to vote in the last presidential election. Democracy is not served by unproven technology, meeting no verifiable standards, which can be manipulated or hacked.
__Don't believe me--you can check it out for yourself. Just google:
Diebold voting error