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Saturday, October 25, 2008

Stop Blaming Electronic Voting, Stop It, it Makes me Sick

It's absolutely trivial to make electronic voting machines 100% secure. It's also cheap and can be designed by a small team in a matter of a few months. What's more, it can be *proven* to be secure in such a way that satisfies not only the experts, but also the electorate. (Most of the code's already been written and is open source.)

In fact, the only way to truly secure an election is with open source electronic voting. Cryptographic methods can be used to sign votes, verify votes and guarantee with a certainty approaching 100% that all votes are counted.

Again, the problem is not electronic voting. The problem is that the a series of corrupt companies, lobbyists, and election officials are collectively making the decision to buy junk systems. Salesmanship, politics, and connections sell voting machines - not technology or correctness.

The hodge-podge of Visual Basic code, perl scripts, virus scanners, and back door admin hooks installed on the non-purpose-built machines that run the nations voting systems is embarrassing and illustrative of how our political system really works. (Paper and optical scanners included here.)

Politicians have been forging paper votes before the word "computer" was coined. Going to "paper" doesn't help a damn.... it just makes people feel cozy and gives lawyers and granola people something to kumbaya about.

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