NEWS ITEMS

 Date

Title 

Source 

Summary 

2003.08.05

Voting Suit Gains Momentum

Wired News, Joanna Glasner

A lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of computerized touch-screen voting systems has moved to a higher-profile venue in federal appeals court.

According to Susan Marie Weber, a Palm Desert, California woman who is suing the state for sanctioning voting machines she alleges are open to manipulation, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco indicated this week that it plans to hear oral arguments in her case.

2003.08.04

Report Critical of Security in Vote Machines

San Diego Union, Jeff McDonald

San Diego County is pushing ahead with plans to invest tens of millions of dollars in an electronic voting system despite dire warnings from experts that the technology may not be safe from ballot-rigging.

Critics say government agencies nationwide are ignoring the warnings, in part because of close relationships between elections officials and the handful of companies that manufacture voting equipment.

2003.08.04

Voting-Machine concerns prompt changes in state plan

Bismark Tribune, Dale Wetzel

Spooked by reports that new, sophisticated voting machines may be vulnerable to tampering, North Dakota election officials have changed plans to install them within three years.

A state blueprint for complying with a new federal voting access law no longer includes references to county use of "touch screen" machines for casting ballots.

2003.08.03

Security Disputed in Touch-Screen Voting

Los Angeles Daily News, Troy Anderson

Touch-screen voting systems being installed in Los Angeles County and much of the nation are prone to tampering and fraud and pose a grave danger to democratic elections, according to computer scientists at Johns Hopkins and Rice universities.

The professors say in a report that Diebold Election Systems' software is rife with glitches that would allow unscrupulous people to cast multiple votes and tamper with election results.

2003.08.02

(Mayor) Menino OK’s new voting machines

Boston Globe, Scott S. Greenberger

Mayor Thomas M. Menino has signed a $1.5 million contract to buy new optical-scan voting machines, but city councilors and voting rights advocates, who want the city to choose more advanced, touch-screen technology, are fighting a last-ditch effort to derail the purchase.

2003.08.03

Security Disputed in Touch-Screen Voting

Long Beach Press Telegram, Troy Anderson

Touch-screen voting systems being installed in Los Angeles County and much of the nation are prone to tampering and fraud and pose a grave danger to democratic elections, according to computer scientists at Johns Hopkins and Rice universities.

2003-08

Libertarian’s Lawsuit Targets Electronic Voting Machines

LP News,

 Bill Winter

A California Libertarian who filed a potentially groundbreaking lawsuit against "touchscreen" voting systems is now waiting to learn whether an appeals court will hear oral arguments in the case.

2003.07.30

Voting Systems “Can’t be Trusted”

Denver Post,  Susan Greene

Dangling chads, nothing.

Florida's voting snafus during the 2000 presidential election pale in comparison to the vulnerabilities of high-tech voting machines counties throughout the nation are scrambling to buy in compliance with a new federal law, several top computer scientists are warning.

"What we know is that the machines can't be trusted. It's an unlocked bank vault ..., a disaster waiting to happen," said David Dill, a Stanford University computer science professor who has prompted more than 110 fellow scientists to sign a petition calling for more accountability in voting technology.

2003.07.23

Computer voting is Open to Easy Fraud, Experts Say

New York Times, John Schwartz

The software that runs many high-tech voting machines contains serious flaws that would allow voters to cast extra votes and permit poll workers to alter ballots without being detected, computer security researchers said yesterday.

"We found some stunning, stunning flaws," said Aviel D. Rubin, technical director of the Information Security Institute at Johns Hopkins University, who led a team that examined the software from Diebold Election Systems, which has about 33,000 voting machines operating in the United States.

2003.07.23

Analysis of an Electronic Voting System

Tadayoshi Kohno, Adam Stubblefield, and  Aviel D. Rubin of Johns Hopkins University;   and  Dan S. Wallach of Rice University

Abstract Recent election problems have sparked great interest in managing the election process through the use of electronic voting systems.

While computer scientists, for the most part, have been warning of the perils of such action, vendors have forged ahead with their products, claiming increased security and reliability. Many municipalities have adopted electronic systems, and the number of deployed systems is rising. For these new computerized voting systems, neither source code nor the results of any third-party certification analyses have been available for the general population to study, because vendors claim that secrecy is a necessary requirement to keep their systems secure. Recently, however, the source code purporting to be the software for a voting system from a major manufacturer appeared on the Internet.

2003.03.03

Scientists Question Electronic Vote

San Francisco Chronicle,   Henry Norr

Oddly enough, Silicon Valley has been a laggard when it comes to applying the technology it's famous for to the election process. Now it's finally beginning to catch up, and it has suddenly become the locus of an overdue -- and profoundly important -- debate about the mechanics of democracy in the 21st century.

The crux of the discussion is whether Santa Clara County, the heart of the valley, should follow the lead of other jurisdictions that are moving to all- electronic voting or instead choose systems that combine the convenience of digital balloting with the auditability afforded by paper ballots.

2002.03.08

Merced County Counted 3,000 Ballots Twice

San Francisco Chronicle,  Michael Pena

Merced County election officials accidentally counted 3,000 ballots twice, initially inflating voter turnout percentages and totals reported by the Secretary of State's Office.

2002.02.03

Lawsuit questions reliability of electronic voting system

The Desert Sun, Christine Mahr

The trial of a lawsuit challenging the integrity of Riverside County’s electronic voting machines is set for May 14 in federal court.

The lawsuit, filed by Palm Desert resident Susan Marie Weber, seeks an injunction ordering Riverside County and state officials to replace or supplement the voting machines with a more reliable system.

2001.03.11

Why Some Numbers are Only Very Good Guesses

New York Times,   Gina Kolata

SOCIETY runs on numbers: the number of people residing in the United States, the number of people in Florida who voted for each of the presidential candidates, the number of unemployed, the percent chance of a crippling blizzard.

Those who come up with these all-important digits know they aren't perfect, even if it sometimes comes as a surprise to the public. And some diehard believers in progress cling to the hope that technology will fix our numbers problem.

But some numbers just can't be fixed.