Experts warn Obama: Internet voting is a really bad idea

PR Log – Global Press Release Distribution

Election, tech experts to Obama: 
Yes, “we need to fix that”—but e-voting is not the answer

Source: Verified Voting
Dated: Dec 06, 2012

In a letter delivered to President Obama and congressional leaders this week, experts including congressional representatives, elections officers and cyber-security experts, urged the president to reject any calls for Internet voting.

December 6, 2012

Barbara Simons, Chair of Board, Verified Voting, Coauthor, Broken Ballots: Will Your Vote Count? –, 650-328-8730
Jordana Merran –, 301-873-4484

Groups Warn Against Hasty Action on Internet Voting in Response to Long Lines, Technical Glitches in November

Washington, DC – In a letter delivered to President Obama and congressional leaders this week, a broad coalition of experts, including congressional representatives, elections officers and cyber-security experts, is urging the president and Congress to reject any calls for Internet voting. They are warning officials that Internet voting remains a highly insecure option that leaves our systems vulnerable to cyber-attacks and technical failures.

After voters across the country waited as long as seven hours to cast their ballots and Hurricane Sandy wreaked havoc on East Coast election systems last November, lawmakers in Congress are introducing legislation to facilitate the voting process in federal elections, and some parties have expressed Interest in online voting.

“Internet voting seems like a great solution. But relying on the Internet to transmit a vote means not only opening the election up to hackers and malicious forces, but also giving up the right to vote anonymously,” said Barbara Simons, former president of the Association for Computing Machinery and chair of the board of the nonpartisan Verified Voting.

Instead, Simons and dozens of other leaders in their fields are urging Congress to use scanned-in paper ballots in federal elections.

“The lack of accountability in our election processes has put our democracy at risk,” said Peter Neumann, Principal Scientist of the SRI International Computer Science Lab and Moderator of the ACM Risks Forum. “That’s why we urge Congress to adopt scanned paper ballots. They are inexpensive, they can eliminate long lines because many voters can vote simultaneously, and most importantly, they provide a paper trail that can be verified, especially in the event that an election result is called into question.”

The letter to the President notes that, had elections been too close to call in the November contest, many jurisdictions that rely on electronic voting machines would have had no way to verify whether their results were correct.

The text of the letter can be found at

Signatories include:

Andrew W. Appel, Eugene Higgins Professor of Computer Science, Princeton Univ.
Matt Blaze, Assoc. Professor, Computer & Information Science, Univ. of Pennsylvania
Harvie Branscomb, Colorado Voter Group
Duncan A. Buell, Computer Science and Engineering Professor, Univ. of South Carolina
David Dill, Computer Science Professor, Stanford Univ.; Board of Directors, Verified Voting
Susan Dzieduszycka-Suinat, Overseas Vote Foundation
Jeremy Epstein, Senior Computer Scientist, SRI International
David J. Farber, Distinguished Professor of Computer Science & Public Policy, Carnegie Mellon Univ.
Lowell Finley, Member, EAC Standards Board
Irene Etkin Goldman, Voting Rights Advocate, Board Chair, Coalition for Peace Action, Princeton, N.J.
Mary Ann Gould, Co-Founder, Executive Director, Coalition for Voting Integrity
J. Alex Halderman, Assistant Professor of Computer Science & Engineering, Univ. of Michigan
Joseph Lorenzo Hall, Senior Staff Technologist, Center for Democracy & Technology
Mark Halvorson, Founder and Former Director, Citizens for Election Integrity Minnesota
Candice Hoke, Director, Public Monitor of Cuyahoga Election Reform; Law professor, Cleveland State Univ.
Representative Rush Holt, Member of Congress
Harri Hursti, Security Researcher, CTO SafelyLocked
Holly Jacobson, Co-Founder, Voter Action
David Jefferson, Computer Scientist, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory; Board of Directors, California Voter Foundation; Board of Directors, Verified Voting
Douglas W. Jones, Associate Professor of Computer Science, Univ. of Iowa; Coauthor, Broken Ballots: Will Your Vote Count
Earl Katz, Public Interest Pictures
Douglas A. Kellner, Co-Chair, New York State Board of Elections
Marybeth Kuznik, Executive Director, VotePA; Judge of Elections, Penn Township, Westmoreland County, PA
Mark Lindeman, Adjunct Assistant Professor of Political Science, Columbia Univ.
Collin Lynch, Intelligent Systems Program, Univ. of Pittsburgh; Past President, VoteAllegheny; Member, VotePA; Past Co-Chair, Allegheny County Citizen’s Advisory Panel on Election Systems
Margaret MacAlpine, Advisory Comm. Member, California Post Election Risk-Limiting Audit Pilot Program
Neal McBurnett, ElectionAudits (the open source project)
John McCarthy, Lawrence Berkeley Nat’l Laboratory Computer Scientist (retired); Verified Voting volunteer
Dan McCrea, President and Co-Founder, Florida Voters Foundation
Walter Mebane, Professor of Political Science and Professor of Statistics, Univ. of Michigan
Justin Moore, Board of Advisors, Verified Voting Foundation
Michelle Mulder, Consultant, Verified Voting Foundation
Peter G. Neumann, Principal Scientist, SRI Internat’l Computer Science Lab; Moderator, ACM Risks Forum
Ronald L. Rivest, Viterbi Professor of Computer Science, MIT
Lida Rodriguez-Taseff, Miami-Dade Election Reform Coalition
Aviel D. Rubin, Professor of Computer Science and Technical Director of the Information Security Institute, Johns Hopkins Univ.
Noel Runyan, President of Personal Data Systems, Campbell, CA.
Ion Sancho, Leon County Supervisor of Elections
Bruce Schneier, Chief Security Technology Officer, BT; Security technologist and author
Kevin Shelley, Former California Secretary of State
Barbara Simons, IBM Research (retired); member, EAC Board of Advisors; Chair, Board of Directors, Verified Voting; Former President, ACM; Coauthor, Broken Ballots: Will Your Vote Count?
Stephanie Singer, Philadelphia City Commissioner
Pamela Smith, President, Verified Voting
Howard Stanislevic, Founder, E-Voter Education Project, NY, NY
Philip B. Stark, Professor and Chair, Department of Statistics, Univ. of California, Berkeley
Paul Stokes, United Voters of New Mexico
Penny M. Venetis, Clinical Prof. of Law, Judge Dickinson R. Debevoise Scholar; Co-Director, Constitutional Litigation Clinic, Rutgers School of Law-Newark
David Wagner, Professor of Computer Science, Univ. of California, Berkeley
Luther Weeks, CTVotersCount
Rebecca Wilson, Co-Director, SAVE our Votes: Secure, Accessible, Verifiable Elections for Maryland

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.