Internet voting in California? A bad idea, no matter where

Internet Voting In California?
Posted on 18 July 2011
By Jim Soper
Voting Rights Task Force

Election integrity advocates recently launched a campaign to block a bill, SB908, that would have introduced email voting for Californians living overseas. We fought it for several reasons.

First, paperless voting itself is dangerous because there is no independent way to check the results claimed by the machines, and no way to recover when something goes wrong, and it will. Voting across the Internet is worse, because it opens up the voting system to several more types of attack, from anywhere in the world, all of them dangerous. Voting by email attachment is even worse, because no attempt is made to encrypt the ballot as it travels from computer to computer across the globe on the way to its destination.

Any of these computers is quite capable of “photoshopping” or simply blocking any ballot that passes through. A ballot sent from Afghanistan could pass through computers in China, Iran, Russia, or any other country interested in “fixing” ballots headed for California. This is only one of several severe vulnerabilities in Internet voting.

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3 replies on “Internet voting in California? A bad idea, no matter where”

What a lot of bunk! This is precisely the propaganda you get from folks who BELIEVE in anti-Internet voting as a RELIGION, w/o any science behind it. Several states in Europe and provinces in Canada have been using Internet voting for years, w/o technical or security glitches. (One 45 min delay in Toronto in 2003) The actual FACTS show that the security technology for Internet voting is as reliable as that used by the multinational banks, which are rich as hell because they have such security.

Soper knows there is a huge difference between email voting, and genuine Internet voting – from your PC or cell phone to a secure server – but he doesn’t mention that. He tries to make people think that the two technologies are equivalent as far as security is concerned. They are not.

Another small item he overlooks is that California has had voting by fax, yes fax, for years. Military people, for example, sometimes can’t vote by mail because it is too undependable in foreign places. While fax voting isn’t very private, at least your vote gets there, and counted. Two political scientists w/ Cal Tech who study the subject, Hall and Alvarez, write of California: “There have not been any allegations of widespread fraud or irregularities associated with faxed UOCAVA [overseas] ballots that we have found…” 87, Hall and Alvarez, Electronic Elections

In 2009, Obama signed the MOVE Act. Because of the problems for military voters, the Act encourages states to try out electronic technology for ballot returns. In 2010, over 33 states used some form of fax, email, or real Internet voting. West Virginia, for example, used real Internet voting in several counties. SOS Tennant was so pleased with the results that she asked the state legislature to let all the counties use it for overseas voters.

Paper security blankets only give false hope. The history of paper ballots is replete w/ fraud. Don’t convert to Soper’s religion. Instead, demand real Internet voting for our troops, and show them we appreciate their sacrifices.

William J. Kelleher, Ph.D.
YouTube: WJKPhD
Follow me on Twitter: wjkno1

I used to be an enthusiastic advocate of e-voting too, but with as many recent articles about hackers breaking into supposedly secure sites of corporations and government agencies I find it amusing that anyone would advocate for internet voting. As Josef Stalin said, “It’s not important who votes. It’s important who counts the votes.” A verifiable, recountable paper trail is essential to democracy. Theoretically tone-dialing a toll-free number, entering your PIN, then following voice commands to enter your choices CAN work, but never underestimate the cleverness of thieves, especially when they are as hard to track as the recent hackers have shown. K.I.S.S.

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