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Study Shows US Electronic Voting Machines Vulnerable
Published on Tuesday, June 27, 2006 by Reuters
Study Shows US Electronic Voting Machines Vulnerable
by Thomas Ferraro

The nation's three most commonly purchased electronic voting machines are all vulnerable to fraud, a study released on Tuesday found.

The study also concluded, however, that steps could be taken to reduce the chances of hackers breaking into these systems and undermining the integrity of state and national elections.

"These machines are vulnerable to attack. That's the bad news," said Michael Waldman, executive director of the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University Law School.

"The good news is that we know how to reduce the risks and the solutions are within reach," Waldman said.

The Brennan Center Task Force on Voting System Security, an initiative of the Brennan Center, conducted the study, which it called the most comprehensive study of electronic voting machines to date.

Larry Norden, chairman of the task force of government and private scientists, voting machine experts and security officials said about 80 percent of voters will vote on one of these electronic systems in November mid-term elections.

Norden said he hopes the study will prompt states and Congress to begin mandating that security measures recommended by the task force be part of the protocol for every county in the United States.

Rep. Rush Holt, a New Jersey Democrat who has introduced legislation to upgrade security for electronic voting machines, arranged to attend a news conference on Capitol Hill on Tuesday where the report was to be released.

Holt's bill has 192 cosponsors, most of them fellow Democrats, an aide said. He introduced the bill last year and it remained unclear whether Congress would enact it into law.

The measure would require all voting machines to produce a paper record voters could inspect to check the accuracy of their votes and election officials could use to verify votes in the event of a computer malfunction or other irregularity.

"Anything of value should be auditable," said Holt.

"Votes are valuable, and each voter should have the knowledge and the confidence that his or her vote was recorded and counted as intended."

Copyright © 2006 Reuters Limited


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