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Electronic voting

Elections easily hacked via electronic voting machines

Wednesday, October 25, 2006 by: Jerome Douglas
Tags: electronic voting, electronic voting machines, elections

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(NewsTarget) As more voting processes across the country turn from the old-fashioned pencil-and-ballot to newer, computerized voting systems, the possibility increases that these new systems will be open to many kinds of electronic fraud.

Cheryl Kagan, a former Maryland Democratic legislator, was shocked when she opened her mail recently to discover three computer discs containing the secret source code for vote counting machines. The information she received could be used to alter the votes cast through Maryland's new electronic voting machines, said Kagan.

While not admitting guilt, Diebold -- the company that makes the voting machines -- responded to concerns by telling ABC News that the discs being circulated at random "do not alter the security of the Diebold touch-screen system in any way."

ABC News then obtained an independent report commissioned by the state of Maryland and conducted by Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) which revealed that original Diebold factory passwords are still being used on many voting machines, making them "hackable" by a knowledgeable party intent on carrying out voting fraud.

The report commissioned and carried out by the SAIC also shows a host of other security flaws in the Diebold voting machines, including administrative override passwords that cannot be changed by local officials but can be used by hackers or those who have seen the discs.

The SAIC independent report goes on to state that one of the high risks to the Diebold voting machine systems appears if operating code discs are lost, stolen or seen by unauthorized parties, which is what has already happened based on the discs that were sent to Kagan.

In the recent past, national computer experts and government officials have voiced serious concerns that if the Diebold voting machines end up malfunctioning, no paper record will exist for a recount. Even worse, fears have sprung up that an entire election could be hacked and results altered.


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