Imagine for a moment that you live in a country where nobody is sure how most of the votes are counted, and there's no reliable record for performing a recount. Imagine that machines count the votes, but nobody knows how they work. Now imagine if somebody found out that the machines were vulnerable to attack, but the agencies that operate them won't take the steps to make them safe. If you live in America, you don't need to imagine anything. This is the reality of electronic voting in our country. Avi Rubin is a computer ...
Imagine for a moment that you live in a country where nobody is sure how most of the votes are counted, and there's no reliable record for performing a recount. Imagine that machines count the votes, but nobody knows how they work. Now imagine if somebody found out that the machines were vulnerable to attack, but the agencies that operate them won't take the steps to make them safe. If you live in America, you don't need to imagine anything. This is the reality of electronic voting in our country. Avi Rubin is a computer scientist at Johns Hopkins University and a specialist in systems security. He and a team of researchers studied the code that operates the machines now used in 37 states and discovered the following terrifying facts: - The companies hired to test the election equipment for federal certification did not study the code that operates the machines and the election commissions employed no computer security analysts. - All votes are recorded on a single removable card similar to the one in a digital camera. There is no way to determine if the card or the code that operates the machine has been tampered with. - It's very easy to program a machine to change votes. There's no way to determine if that has happened. - There were enough irregularities with the electronic voting machines used throughout the 2004 election to make anyone think twice about using them again. Avi Rubin has testified at Congressional hearings trying to alert the government that it has put our democracy at risk by relying so heavily on voting machines without taking the proper precautions. As he has waged this battle, he has been attacked, undermined, and defamed by a prominentmanufacturer. His job has been threatened, but he won't give up until every citizen understands that at this moment, our democracy hangs in the balance. There are simple solutions and, before you vote in the next election, Rubin wants you to know your rights. If you don't know them and you use an electronic voting machine, you may not be voting at all.
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Anyone who cares about his right to vote and have his vote be counted should read this breezy narrative. It tells the inside story of how we came to the situation where Americans are no longer voting directly on paper in most precincts, but on expensive, complicated, and mysterious computers. They are mysterious because no one but a select few can know what happens to your vote once you cast it. Our system of voting was recently referred to as Kafkaesque.
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