Feeds

E-voting fears run high as election day looms

'Flipped' votes reported in three states

Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable

USA '08 With just a week to go before the US presidential election, academics, politicians, and voters are voicing increased distrust of the electronic voting machines that will be used to cast ballots.

In early balloting in West Virginia, Texas, and Tennessee, voters using e-voting machines made by Nebraska-based Election Systems & Software (ES&S) have reported the "flipping" of their vote from the presidential candidate they selected to the candidate's rival. In some cases, voters said their choice had been changed from Democrat Barack Obama to Republican John McCain while others reported just the opposite.

The reports prompted the Brennan Center for Justice and a group called Verified Voting on Tuesday to write voting officials in 16 states where the ES&S iVotronic machine is used to be on the lookout for problems.

"There is a real chance that voters using iVotronic machines in your state will experience 'vote flopping' similar to that experienced by voters in West Virginia," the letter warned. It went on to urge poll workers to recalibrate machines when in doubt, and when possible to confirm voters' candidate choices with a verified paper trail.

The vote flipping warning comes on the heels of a 158-page report (PDF) computer scientists from Princeton University released two weeks ago warning of serious deficiencies in another commonly used e-voting machine. The Sequoia AVC Advantage 9.00H touch-screen voting machine, made by California-based Sequoia Voting Systems, is "easily hacked" in about seven minutes by replacing a single read-only memory chip or swapping out a separate processor chip.

The findings have prompted one candidate for the mayor of Bayonne, New Jersey, to ask the state's secretary of state to oversee the town's municipal election.

The study was ordered by a New Jersey judge who is presiding over a lawsuit challenging the use of e-voting machines in that state. Plaintiffs in the case argue the machines don't meet election law requirements for accuracy. State officials counter that they do.

ES&S has strongly refuted (PDF) the report, saying the researchers, among other things, improperly removed security seals and hardware before conducting their tests.

Even far from the nation's heartland, there were still more reports of botched e-voting. Finland's Ministry of Justice said Tuesday that about 2 percent of votes cast in an election held Sunday could not be counted because voters hadn't followed instructions. The machines, developed by IT services group TietoEnator, required voters to press a button marked OK twice before removing a smart card from the machine terminal. Voters who failed to do so were unable to cast their ballots.

Tuija Brax, the country's justice minister, expressed surprise at the snafu, telling NewsRoom Finland the machines had been "tested, tested and tested again." ®

Mobile application security vulnerability report

More from The Register

next story
LibreSSL RNG bug fix: What's all the forking fuss about, ask devs
Blow to bit-spitter 'tis but a flesh wound, claim team
Manic malware Mayhem spreads through Linux, FreeBSD web servers
And how Google could cripple infection rate in a second
NUDE SNAPS AGENCY: NSA bods love 'showing off your saucy selfies'
Swapping other people's sexts is a fringe benefit, says Snowden
Own a Cisco modem or wireless gateway? It might be owned by someone else, too
Remote code exec in HTTP server hands kit to bad guys
British data cops: We need greater powers and more money
You want data butt kicking, we need bigger boots - ICO
Crooks fling banking Trojan at Japanese smut site fans
Wait - they're doing online banking with an unpatched Windows PC?
NIST told to grow a pair and kick NSA to the curb
Lrn2crypto, oversight panel tells US govt's algorithm bods
prev story

Whitepapers

Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.