Since October of last year, The Coalition for Voting Integrity has been producing a radio show - available on WNJC1360 AM and the Internet - devoted to the exploration not only of the impact of electronic voting but also the nature of Democracy and our role in it as American citizens. The list of guests has been nothing short of astounding. From a Pulizer-Prize winning historian to national experts on the issues and science behind electronic voting, every week has brought a wealth of information to the public.
Mary Ann Gould has interviewed internationally known computer scientists and electronic voting experts, Dr. Avi Rubin, Dr. Dan Lopresti and Dr. Rebecca Mercuri. She's talked to polling expert Dr. Steven Freeman of UPENN. She got the latest news about pending electronic voting litigation, including some in Pennsylvania, from attorneys and voting experts John Bonifaz, Marian K. Schneider and Lowell Finley. She's talked to Congressmen Rush Holt (NJ-12) and Ron Paul (TX-14). If you're an electronic voting expert with something to say, you've said it to Voice of the Voters listeners.
Rush Holt, you may know, has put forth eVoting leglislation again in the House, H.R. 811. You may not know that voting rights groups, like CVI, have major concerns about the bill's refusal to ban DRE's (touchscreen/button machines like the ones Bucks County uses) entirely. In fact, there's a fascinating struggle going on now behind the Congressional scenes around the bill with groups like Common Cause, Move On and People for the American Way all lined up behind the bill's passage (figuring something is better than nothing) and groups that have made voting rights their raison d'etre, like CVI and VotersUnite.org, united in opposition reasoning that we've already got a bad bill (HAVA), why compound the problem with more flawed legislation that will this time legislate explicitly in favor of machines we know cannot be trusted? You can read about why DRE's need to be banned here and the proposed amendment to the H.R. 811, which will do that, here. If you feel like it, call your Congressperson and ask them to read what you read and then make sure that the amendment to ban DRE's is attached to H.R. 811.
Which brings us to tonight's Voice of the Voters. The guest will be Dr. Harry Hursti, who developed the famous Hursti Hack test and changed the voting landscape forever. This is from the press advisory for the show, called "Hacking 101":
When Ion Sancho, Leon County, Florida Supervisor of Elections and last week's Voice of the Voters guest, wanted to determine the security of Leon County’s voting machines, he only wanted to deal with the top experts in the field of computer security. One of the two people he called was HarryiHursti.
The security test that Hursti developed for Sancho has since been come to be known as the landmark Hursti Hack Test One, which showed that election results from an electronic voting system could be changed without a trace.
This week on Voice of the Voters, Harri Hursti will explain in clear and understandable detail everything you need to know to understand viruses, hacking and why electronic voting machines are especially vulnerable to attack and simple failure. He will answer the following questions:
- What is a computer virus? What causes it? What does it do to a computer? Why should we be concerned?
- What is hacking? How is it done? What vulnerabilities do hackers exploit? What harm can be done?
- When you look at viruses and hacking, how do they both relate to electronic voting machines presently in use and under consideration in the US? Are we easy targets?
- Does any test currently exist that would tell us if an electronic voting machine has been contaminated with a virus, been the victim of a hack or is simply not working the way it should?
- In terms of vulnerability to hacking and viruses, do all electronic machines (touchscreen, touchbutton and optical scan) have the same security risks?
- Given the facts, is there anything that would make one system a better choice?
- Would adding a printer to a touchscreen/touchbutton machine give us the same accuracy and reliability as the optical scan machines with hand-marked ballots?
The conclusion: There’s no way that any voting machine that exists in the US today or is even under design, can produce a secure election.
The impact: Our 2008 election is already of questionable security. What can be done in time for 2008? Are paper ballots the answer or do they pose security risks as well? You’ll be surprised by what you hear.
If you want to get up to speed on the question of the security of electronic voting machines quickly and painlessly, don't miss tonight's show and take some time to listen through the archives as well. The show is now even a podcast you can access through iTunes. Search
under for "Voice of the Voters" in the News and Politics category.
Tell your friends. There isn't a more important issue facing the country and Bucks County today.