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Another shell game or voting security?
Written by Daniel   
Friday, 11 May 2007 10:17
California Hammers on E-Voting
Dark Reading

MAY 10, 2007 | Debra Bowen is tired of all the hype about vulnerabilities in e-voting systems. And next week, she and a herd of researchers are going to do something about it.

Bowen, the secretary of state for Calif., said yesterday that the state is ready to begin a "top-to-bottom review" of its using three teams of experts from universities and private companies all over the state. The researchers will review all of the data they can find about hacking electronic polling systems, and they will try to break into the systems themselves.

.Just how vulnerable such voting machines are -- and their underlying software -- has been a sore subject debated by politicians, jurists, and technology experts. (See E-Voting Tested on Election Day, E-Voting Hacks Facts, and Diebold Disses Democracy.) Many states have shunned the electronic systems and reverted to punch cards or good old-fashioned paper ballots marked with a pencil.

The Calif. review, which will begin May 14 and run through July, will result in one of three conclusions, Bowen says:
Calif.'s systems will be found to be secure, and voters can rest easy.
The systems will be found to be flawed but fixable with additional security measures.
The systems will be found to be so flawed that they will have to be decertified and eliminated from the state's voting process.

The review, which will be led by the University of California, will consist of three separate review teams, each with about seven people, Bowen says. Each team will evaluate documents pertaining to e-voting vulnerabilities, conduct a source-code audit on the state's currently-used voting systems, and execute a "red team penetration test" to see if they can break into the systems and tamper with voting results. More

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