Feeds

Server crash blitzes Florida's e-voting records

Bring back Hanging Chad

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

As the 2004 US Presidential Election race gets under way, Florida is again at the centre of a vote counting controversy. The department for elections has admitted that server crashes have wiped out the voter records from the Miami-Dade county elections in 2002.

Although no one in the department knows what caused the crash, officials claim that the problem has been remedied, according to The Miami Herald. A nifty bit of tech support, to be sure.

The data losses were uncovered by the Miami-Dade Election Reform Coalition, campaigners who say that the crashes show how flaky the electronic voting system can be.

"We will never know how good or bad the audit capability because the data is gone," Lida Rodriguez-Taseff, an attorney and chairwoman of the coalition told The Herald. "What this shows from a big-picture perspective is that no one knows what's going on."

Florida is seeking to restore credibility to its electoral systems after the Hanging Chad fiasco of 2000, but this news is not likely to inspire voter confidence. The state has also been widely criticised for suspending voter rights of convicted felons, a prohibition that continues after the completion of any sentence. It is one of six states that maintains this practice.

The coalition argues that because there is no paper trail to follow in the event of a recount, the electronic voting machines - supplied by Election Systems & Software - are unsafe.

The server crashed in both May and November 2003, ditching nearly all the electronic data from the municipal elections the year before. The touchscreen voting system involves keeping voting records on flash cards for 10 days after an election. However, when the servers crashed in November (not long after a local election), it is not clear that a recount would have been possible if it had been called for.

The law requires that the data on the flash cards be kept. The idea is that with two storage streams for voter data, if one is potentially compromised, there is another data trail against which it can be checked and verified. However, a bug in the code meant that this data was scrambled, according to an earlier audit. Election Systems & Software says that this problem has been fixed.

Seth Kaplan, a spokesman for the election department, said the data is now immune to computer failure as it is backed up to tape. Let's hope the tapes are stored away from flammable liquids. ®

Related stories

E-voting terminals: gambling with data?
We want our e-voting paper trail
E-voting security: getting it right
E-voting security: looking good on paper?
Dutch e-voting software goes open source

3 Big data security analytics techniques

More from The Register

next story
EU: Let's cost financial traders $400m a day, because EVIL BANKERS. Right?
Wait 'til this one hits your pension fund where it hurts
Systems meltdown plunges US immigration courts into pen-and-paper stone age
Massive outage could last four weeks, sources claim
Lavabit loses contempt of court appeal over protecting Snowden, customers
Judges rule complaints about government power are too little, too late
UK.gov chucks £28m at F1 tech for buses and diggers plan
Well, not really F1 but who's heard of LMP and VLN*?
Don't let no-hire pact suit witnesses call Steve Jobs a bullyboy, plead Apple and Google
'Irrelevant' character evidence should be excluded – lawyers
Record labels sue Pandora over vintage song royalties
Companies want payout on recordings made before 1972
Edward Snowden on his Putin TV appearance: 'Why all the criticism?'
Denies Q&A cameo was meant to slam US, big-up Russia
Ex-Tony Blair adviser is new top boss at UK spy-hive GCHQ
Robert Hannigan to replace Sir Iain Lobban in the autumn
Judge halts spread of zombie Nortel patents to Texas in Google trial
Epic Rockstar patent war to be waged in California
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mainstay ROI - Does application security pay?
In this whitepaper learn how you and your enterprise might benefit from better software security.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.