Category Archives: E-voting

NIST Report on Audit Trails Released

Update – September 12 While audit trails are important, proper planning works wonders for successful voting. Today (9/12) is a primary election day in my local jurisdiction – Montgomery County, Maryland. Arriving shortly after the polls opened this morning, I found that the smart cards necessary to use our DRE machines were not there. In [...]

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Fall Outlook: Congressional Tech. Policy Agenda, Part I

Congress ended their summer recess this week with just three short weeks left before heading home again to campaign for the November elections. On the technology policy front, things will likely be busy as several initiatives will wind their way through Congress, but we don’t expect many, if any, on the President’s desk before October. [...]

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National Academies: Jurisdictions May Not Be Ready for Election Day, Certification Process Generates Skepticism

July has seen a lot of attention focused on e-voting issues. First, the Brennan Center releases a major report on threats to e-voting systems. Then Congress holds a much-needed hearing on e-voting (USACM offered testimony). And this week the National Academies released an interesting new report discussing emerging problems with e-voting systems and making recommendations [...]

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Congress Looks into E-Voting Issues, USACM Calls on Congress and the EAC to Close Gaps in Current System

Facing a steady stream of reports about e-voting machine failures and security vulnerabilities, yesterday Congress tackled the question of whether new federal standards will improve this technology. The short answer from the witness and the Members of Congress seemed to be that the standards, while a good first step, were far short of what we [...]

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Brennan Center report on voting system security

In late June the Brennan Center for Justice, located at the NYU School of Law, released a report on voting system security. The report, The Machinery of Democracy: Protecting Elections in an Electronic World, was compiled over the course of a year by a task force of government, academic and private sector experts and is [...]

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Computer Scientists Warn Significant Security Vulnerability Exists In E-Voting Machines

With so much happening in the technology and technology policy fields, it is a rare day that computer experts focus on one particular issue. So it seems pretty significant that several blogs and news reports with quotes from well-respected computer scientists are focusing on a new report by Harri Hursti for blackboxvoting.org outlining several new [...]

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Computerworld: Cali. Registration Database Rejecting Voters

Friday’s Computerworld has an interesting article about problems with the new California statewide voter registration database. According to the report, in the past three months about 43 percent of voter registration forms in Los Angeles County were rejected. Alademda County’s rejection rate was about 10 percent. Although the article is a little vague, the likely [...]

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Maryland’s Governor Endorses Paper-Ballot Voting Machines

The Washington Post reports that Maryland Governor Ehrlich (R-MD) wrote a letter to the Chairman of the State Board of Elections calling for the board to replace touch screen voting machines with optical scan machines. According to the Post, his letter states: “Maryland’s lack of a paper trail means we are no longer a national [...]

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USACM Releases Major Study on Voter Registration Databases

Update 2/17/06: Declan McCullagh wrote a nice story about the study for CNET News.com. Original Post 2/16/06: Citing the danger of voter fraud and disenfranchisement from poorly implemented databases, a committee of experts commissioned by USACM released a report today making almost 100 recommendations to state and local officials charged with creating and managing statewide voter [...]

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E-voting tensions rising in North Carolina

North Carolina’s State Board of Elections created quite a stir recently when, surprisingly, it decided to certify Diebold e-voting equipment for use in the state despite a still-running debate about the state’s new source code “escrow” rules and the company’s compliance with them. The requirements call on companies to deposit the source code for their [...]

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USACM writes to policymakers in Virginia on e-voting

Yesterday, USACM sent a letter to Virginia Delegate Tim Hugo, chair of the Joint Subcommittee Studying the Certification, Performance, and Deployment of Voting Equipment, regarding the issue of voter-verified paper records and electronic voting machines. The subcommittee is scheduled to hold a hearing on Monday, November 21, 2005, to address the issue (an agenda for [...]

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Carter-Baker Commmission gets it partly right

Update (Sept. 26) — Carter and Baker have issued a response to some of the criticism their report has received — their comments appeared in the NY Times on Sept. 23 and are available here. As pointed out in today’s Washington Post, the Federal Commission on Election Reform (led by former president Jimmy Carter and [...]

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Policy Makers Return to DC With Full Agenda

After a quiet August things are really picking up in Washington. Congress’ attention is squarely focused on the suffering and hardship caused by hurricane Katrina. ACM’s President Dave Patterson issued a statement to ACM members with suggestions on what the technology community can do to help. While dealing with this disaster will likely remain Congress’ [...]

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More scrutiny of e-voting in Ireland

EDRi’s latest newsletter informs us about a recent article in the Irish Times [subscription required] describing the Irish government’s plans to subject their e-voting machines to additional security and risk-related scrutiny: The Government has initiated a new round of assessment and testing of the controversial €60 million electronic voting system currently in storage. An advertisement [...]

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NYT, EFF, and others push for more support for Holt e-voting bill

The NY Times is running an editorial today urging House members to support Rep. Rush Holt’s electronic voting bill (H.R. 550): There are many problems with American elections, but none more serious than the rise of paperless electronic voting, whose results cannot be trusted. Grass-roots reformers are in the middle of a two-day lobbying blitz [...]

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ACM Voter Registration Database Study Calls for More Details in EAC Guidance

Previously, we reported that ACM created a committee to study issues related to statewide voter registration databases and that the Election Assistance Commission (EAC) recently released its draft guidance on this topic, seeking additional comments. ACM’s committee took the opportunity to provide expert comments to the EAC. The Help America Vote Act requires that all [...]

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EAC Seeks Advice On Voting Databases, ACM Provides Expert Testimony

ACM recently formed a committee of experts (names and affiliations below) to provide states with guidance on implementing statewide voter-registration databases. Today the Committee outlined its efforts before the Election Assistance Commission (EAC), which is seeking input on its proposed guidance to the states regarding these databases.

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Soaries resigning from Election Assistance Commission

Current Election Assistance Commission (EAC) member and former EAC chairman DeForest B. Soaries Jr. recently announced his resignation from the EAC, citing, among other things, dissatisfaction with the level of support the EAC has received from the federal government: “All four of us had to work without staff, without offices, without resources,” Mr. Soaries said. [...]

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E-Voting Issues Heat Up In DC This Week

Washington D.C. hosts two major voting-policy events this week. First, the Carter/Baker Commission on Federal Election Reform kicked-off its first hearing yesterday, part of a six month effort to study the 2004 elections and make recommendations to policymakers. The Commission is led by former President Jimmy Carter and former Secretary of State James Baker and [...]

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USACM writes to policymakers in Hawaii on e-voting

USACM today sent a letter to state policymakers in Hawaii to call their attention to the e-voting statement that ACM adopted last year. The letter seeks to offer USACM’s technical and policy input as electronic voting legislation works its way through the Hawaii legislature (something that’s currently going on in many state legislatures across the [...]

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Wash Post editorial: Up for the Count

“MARYLAND VOTERS will never know for sure whether their election choices last year were recorded correctly — and the same uncertainty could haunt them next year if lawmakers again fail to address a serious defect in the touch-screen voting machines used throughout the state. When functioning properly — and the state elections administrator, Linda H. [...]

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NYT editorial: Tackling Election Reform

“After a second consecutive presidential election marred by significant flaws in the mechanics of voting, it’s time for Congress to take a hard look at fixing the system. Two Senate bills aim to do that. A Republican-sponsored bill is narrowly tailored around making electronic voting more reliable. A more ambitious bill, sponsored by the Democrats, [...]

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Bill proposes e-voting paper trail

” Voting machines must include a verifiable paper trail and audit capability in time for the 2006 elections, according to a bill introduced this week in Congress. [...] Called the Voting Integrity and Verification Act, the bill says states must allow the “voter to review an individual paper version of the voter’s ballot before the [...]

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One Last Election Lesson

“The November election may feel like ancient history, but it is still going on in North Carolina. The state has been unable to swear in an agriculture commissioner because a single malfunctioning electronic voting machine lost more ballots than the number of votes that separate the two candidates. The State Board of Elections, the candidates [...]

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Cem Kaner on e-voting auditability

Responding to an earlier letter to the editor in the NY Times, Cem Kaner (professor of software engineering at the Florida Institute of Technology, IEEE e-voting working group member, and USACM member) has written a letter focusing on e-voting auditability and the standards-making process: I serve on the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers P1583 [...]

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New chair for U.S. Election Assistance Commission

“In a ceremony led by Members of Congress, the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) today installed the Hon. Gracia Hillman as chair of the agency. [...] Hillman, a former executive director of the League of Women Voters of the U.S., will hold the EAC leadership position for one year. She is a Democratic appointee who [...]

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Florida E-Vote Study Debunked

“A study by Berkeley grad students and a professor showing anomalies with electronic-voting machines in Florida has been debunked by numerous academics who say the students used a faulty equation to reach their results and should never have released the study before getting it peer-reviewed. The study, released three weeks ago [covered here] by seven [...]

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Researchers: Florida Vote Fishy

“Electronic voting machines in Florida may have awarded George W. Bush up to 260,000 more votes than he should have received, according to statistical analysis conducted by University of California, Berkeley graduate students and a professor, who released a study on Thursday. [...] Their aim in releasing the report, the researchers said, was not to [...]

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AAAS panel calls for voter-system research and reform

A panel of experts convened by the AAAS on election technology and administration warned in a report recently that “the American system of voting is broadly vulnerable to error and abuse, and called for a crash-course of study and reform to make results more reliable and to promote better access by voters, especially those who [...]

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New E-voting Blog

Peter Harsha (CRA) is pointing us toward a new e-voting weblog: Computer Scientists David Dill [USACM member], Ed Felten, Joe Hall, Avi Rubin, Barbara Simons [USACM member], Adam Stubblefield, and Dan Wallach have joined forces at evoting-experts.com to post news and commentary on e-voting issues (just in time for election day). The site has only [...]

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Judge Dismisses Touch-Screen Voting Suit

“MIAMI – Eight days before Election Day, a federal judge ruled Monday that Florida’s touch-screen voting machines do not have to produce a paper record for use in case a recount becomes necessary. U.S. District Judge James Cohn said that the machines “provide sufficient safeguards” by warning voters if they have not cast a vote [...]

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Electronic Voting Raises New Issues

” Electronic voting systems that were touted as the solution to the paper ballots and hanging chads of the 2000 presidential election have become a new source of controversy as experts debate the reliability of software that operates the new systems, whether local election officials have the technical competence to run them and how there [...]

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Researchers and registrars debate e-voting

From Slashdot: Paper Trail writes “There’s a fascinating discussion going on right now over at SiliconValley.com. A group of computer scientists, journalists, voting activists, and county registrars are discussing the e-voting mess in an online forum that runs all this week. The panel is a who’s who of e-voting: Avi Rubin, David Dill, David Jefferson, [...]

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E-voting recommendation adopted by Council of Europe Committee of Ministers

“The Council of Europe Committee of Ministers [has agreed to] the first international legal text on e-voting in elections and referendums. The recommendation sets out a blueprint for governments planning to use new technologies for future elections and referendums. [...] The legal and technical guidelines of the Council of Europe indicate how to build, run [...]

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E-Voting Fans: The Disabled

“[...] While many voter rights’ advocates are fighting to decertify electronic voting machines, arguing they’re not reliable, one bloc remains steadfast behind the new equipment — disabled voters who say the machines give them long-denied privacy. “The need for greater access by millions of people should not be overshadowed by this concern about security to [...]

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Schwarzenegger signs bill requiring e-vote paper trail

“Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed legislation Monday that will bar the use of electronic voting machines that don’t produce paper trails to verify votes. The requirement, which takes effect in 2006, is a response to concerns that the machines could be tampered with or produce incorrect results [...]” SOURCE: AP (via SiliconValley.com)

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ACM Recommends Integrity, Security, Usability in E-voting

Cites Risks of Computer-based Systems Seeking to improve the security, accessibility, and public confidence in the voting process, ACM’s elected leadership has approved a public statement on the deployment and use of computer-based electronic voting (e-voting) systems for public elections. ACM’s position is that while computer-based e-voting systems have the potential to improve the electoral [...]

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Carter: Still Seeking a Fair Florida Vote

“[...] A partial answer to the other question is that some basic international requirements for a fair election are missing in Florida. The most significant of these requirements are: [...] • Uniformity in voting procedures, so that all citizens, regardless of their social or financial status, have equal assurance that their votes are cast in [...]

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EPIC Testifies on Voting Privacy

“The Election Assistance Commission Technical Guidelines Development Committee asked EPIC to offer testimony (pdf) on the impact that new voting technology and polling place practices has on the privacy rights of voters. The hearing was an opportunity for the committee charged with making recommendations on voluntary standards for election systems and voting technology [...]” SOURCE: [...]

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E-Vote Fears Soar in Swing States

“Roughly a third of the votes cast in the November presidential election will be made on controversial paperless electronic voting machines, but as any political analyst can tell you, the only votes that will matter a great deal will be cast in a handful of swing states. And just as the Kerry and Bush campaigns [...]

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Ready or Not, Electronic Voting Goes National

“Just over six weeks before the nation holds the first general election in which touch-screen voting will play a major role, specialists agree that whatever the remaining questions about the technology’s readiness, it is now too late to make any significant changes. Whether or not the machines are ready for the election – or the [...]

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Nevada’s E – Vote Free of Serious Problems

“Alarmed by software glitches, security threats and computer crashes with ATM-like voting machines, officials from Washington, D.C., to California are considering an alternative from an unlikely place: Nevada. Silver State voters cast electronic ballots Tuesday on a $9.3 million voting system with more than 2,600 computers and printers in every county. The primary was free [...]

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Md.’s Electronic Voting ‘Terribly Vulnerable’ to Fraud

“Maryland’s electronic voting system remains “terribly vulnerable” to fraud despite steps taken by the state to correct security flaws, a consultant who conducted a study of the system last January testified Wednesday. Michael Wertheimer of RABA Technologies said his review of the latest report by the State Board of Elections on what it is doing [...]

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Md. Machines Seek Vote of Confidence

“Judge to Hear Activists’ Demand For Paper Trail on Electronic Ballots When critics of electronic voting machines warn of Maryland becoming another Florida, with the potential for hundreds if not thousands of lost votes this fall, State Elections Administrator Linda H. Lamone shudders. [...] But today, Lamone finds the touch-screen system she has championed under [...]

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Techies Praised for E-Vote Work

“The new national elections chairman this week praised computer scientists for calling attention to security problems with e-voting machines and for helping develop new standards for building machines that will be more secure in the future. “The country owes you a debt of thanks to have taken this challenge of voting systems seriously,” DeForest B. [...]

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Nevada officials back e-vote systems for primary, general election

“Nevada election officials are confident that an electronic voting system being used for the state’s Sept. 7 primary will perform well, despite a problem that showed up in a demonstration of the technology this month in California. Nevada also plans to use the system for the general election in November [...]” SOURCE: ComputerWorld

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Federal court upholds Calif. e-voting ban

“[...] A federal judge today upheld California Secretary of State Kevin Shelley’s April 30 directive that decertified touch-screen voting machines and withheld future certification until vendors of those systems could meet specific security requirements, including voter-verifiable paper audit trails (VVPAT).” SOURCE: ComputerWorld

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USACM Offers to Assist Federal Commission to Develop Evoting Standards

In a letter to the newly created U.S. Election Assistance Commission, USACM urged that independent technical experts be involved in the development and assessment of electronic voting standards and technologies. USACM offered to provide its technical assistance to the Commission.

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USACM Urges Federal Funding for Secure Elections

USACM has joined a diverse coalition of voting rights groups and reform advocates in sending a letter to Congress urging full funding for research and standards initiatives intended to enhance the security of electronic voting systems. USACM also issued a press release.

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