September 7 2006

Fun for $12 and 4 minutes of your time!

Ever wanted to majorly influence the outcome of an election?
Got $12?
Got 4 minutes?
Then the election world is your oyster!

Engadget is where I first saw the link to this story. The DieBold electronic voting machines have been questioned since day 1, suspicions have been raised left and right about them, and now it seems anyone with the gumption can hack them with enough time.

How would someone get enough time you ask? Well it seems that the California Association Of Clerks And Election Officials think voting machine “sleepovers” are ok. A sleepover is when the official is given the e-voting machine the night before so in the morning can go directly to the polling place in the morning. To quote the statement of the CACEO:

The reference to voting equipment “sleepover” refers to the practice of election officials distributing secured voting equipment to poll workers in advance of the election. In this model, voting equipment and all election supplies (including paper ballots) are stored at the home of lead poll workers (inspectors) and transported to the poll site on Election Day. Questions have been raised regarding the security and integrity of voting equipment under this practice.

And further on:

All poll workers take an oath to uphold the integrity of the elections process prior to initiating their duties.

Oh, well, they took an oath, that makes everything just fine, because no one ever goes back on an oath. No one ever gives in to bribery. No election official ever goes to sleep, leaving the machine unprotected to anyone else in their home such as a tech geeky teenage child. Nope, those machines are 100% secure in someones normal, everyday home!

There is no greater honor they being able to vote, but the idea that someone with as little as $12 could invalidate my vote just angers me beyond belief. I know that this was in response to the “hanging chad” fiasco of 2000, but guess what, I would still much rather use a punch card. Even before anyone had ever told me what a hanging chad was, I always ran my and down the back of the card to make sure nothing was hanging off. I would then reference at least one of my punched holes to the number in the ballot to make sure the correct number was missing. I still do all this, and am quite happy about it.

It’ll be a cold day in hell before I trust my vote to a machine that can be so easily hacked.

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