Thursday, October 23, 2008

Voting Machines and Fraud

Saw a fascinating movie last night that detailed some of the potential fraud that can be committed with electronic voting machines. I've actually been writing about this in DIR, since the wake of the disastrous 2000 election. By "disastrous," I don't necessarily mean the outcome (we'll leave that debate for the political bloggers). I mean the way the votes were counted, especially in Florida.

If you remember, all the hanging chads and the problems with the punch cards, prompted this vast movement toward electronic voting machines. Problem is, most of these machines intially, at least, had no paper trails. So, you were literally casting your vote into a "black box" and assuming it was gooing to come out the right way on the other side.

Well, this movie I saw last night, Uncounted, detailed some of the ways these machines can easily be hacked and the votes flipped. Meaning that if Candidate A received 200 votes and Candidate B received 100, it only takes about 20 lines of code written on a memory card, inserted into a fairly easily accessible memory slot, to flip the vote so it appears Candidate A had 100 votes and Candidate B had 200. There are other things you can do as well.

I'm not going to get into all the evidence the movie presented that this vote flipping has probably been done several times in the past eight years - as these people may have been just a bunch of liberal, conspiracy-theory crackpots- they were mainly academics, activists, and journalists - but there were some conservatives represented as well. My point is not to argue whether or not this stuff has been done - it's merely to ask why the $#%& are we designing systems with these types of potential flaws?

I mean, we all work in the ECM industry. We know all about security, auditability, records management, etc., yet none of this technology is being implemented in one of the most important business processes related to properly running our country. Why is this? Have we fallen down on the job? Has there been a deliberate conspiracy to keep ECM technology out of the voting process.

Any opinions on this are appreciated.

Ralph

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