Voting Machines in International Herald Tribune

Britain to Launch Electronic Voting Systems. From the story:

The basic problem in current electronic voting systems, the security experts say, is the lack of an audit trail that would enable all voters to verify for themselves in real time that their vote was recorded as they intended and was counted as they intended.

In addition, they say, there needs to be a publicly available electronic ballot box that can verify that the announced vote total is an accurate tabulation of all the votes cast. This must all be done in a way that maintains the secrecy of each individual’s ballot.

About 500 computer technologists in the United States have signed a resolution put forward by Dr. Dill warning that no electronic voting system should be adopted that does not have these protections. A list of the signers and their affiliations is at verify.stanford.edu/EVOTE/endorsements.html.

None of the voting systems that are being used in Britain or elsewhere meet these requirements, Dr. Dill said, though it is technically possible to have such a system using advanced cryptographic techniques.

Jim Adler, the president of VoteHere, a company in Seattle that has provided the software for six of the local elections now under way in Britain, acknowledged that the security protections did not meet the highest standards. “Governments often make usability-security tradeoffs,” he said, “and you can see that in the U.K.”

In a separate e-mail, he elaborated: “There is no requirement for voters to be able to verify that their vote was `cast as intended’ or for election observers to verify that all ballots were `counted as cast.’ The technology exists, but the U.K., so far, has not required it.”

Mr. Adler, who is in the business of selling electronic voting systems, said: “I applaud the Avi Rubins and Rebecca Mercuris.” He said their critiques of current voting systems were correct.

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