Wednesday, August 18, 2010
By Bo Lipari
In a wired world, it was inevitable that the subject of Internet Voting
become a hot topic sooner rather than later. But more than just a topic
of discussion, this year eighteen states will allow overseas ballots to
be returned via email in November’s elections. Yet according to security
experts, voted ballots sent via Internet simply cannot be made secure,
and make easy and inviting targets for attackers ranging from lone
hackers to foreign governments seeking to undermine US elections.
The Pentagon rejected the idea of returning voted ballots via the
internet as recently as 2004, when the SERVE (Secure Electronic
Registration and Voting Experiment) project was canceled. In a memo,
Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz said/ “In view of the inability
to ensure legitimacy of votes that would be cast in the SERVE internet
voting project, thereby bringing into doubt the integrity of the
election, I hereby direct you to take immediate steps to ensure that no
voters use the system to register or vote via the internet.”/
There’s no question that voting for military and overseas voters needs
to be improved. Too often absentee ballots are not received in time, if
at all. Returning voted ballots from voters in hard to reach places (for
example remote military outposts) in time to meet state election
deadlines is difficult. These are real problems and 2009 saw efforts to
improve ballot access for overseas voters kick-started by passage of the
Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment (MOVE) Act, passed as an
amendment to the Defense Authorization bill.
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