News Ticker

Podcast: Dangers of electronic voting machines & internet voting

Listen to Larry Magid’s interview with Stanford University computer scientist Dr. David Dill

Americans are divided over who we’re going to vote for this November but just about all of us want the elections to be fair and for the results to accurately reflect how we vote. Trouble is, some Americans, including some people in swing states like Georgia and Pennsylvania, will be voting on Direct Electronic Voting machines which, said Wired are “Scarily easy targets.”

As Wired pointed out, “the extent of vulnerability isn’t just hypothetical; late last summer, Virginia decertified thousands of insecure WinVote machines.”

And, given Russia’s apparent interest in our election and alleged hacking of the Democratic National Committee and other campaign officials, the once unthinkable notion of a state sponsored hack of our elections is by no means out of the realm of possibility.

And, while there is no internet voting yet in the United States, there are certainly calls for that as well. But, says Dr. David Dill, a professor of Engineering and computer science at Stanford University, both electronic voting machines and internet voting are fraught with danger when it comes to both hacking and errors. Unlike online banking and other electronic transactions, voting is secret. “Its very difficult to do that (verify voting) without comprising voter secrecy. You can have one thing or the other but you can’t have both,” he said.  And even if there is no fraud or error, there remains the nagging question of voter confidence in the results. “:upposed you have an election that could be rigged and it’s not detectable, and it isn’t rigged,” said Dill, “Then after the election people still do’t know whether they should trust the results or not.”