Just As I Thought

Maybe the UN should monitor the election

According to an AP story in the Washington Post, experts have declared the military’s overseas voting system to be so vulnerable that it should be scrapped:

The four computer security experts say the Secure Electronic Registration and Voting Experiment, or SERVE, could be penetrated by hackers who could change votes or gather information about users. They said the system should be scrapped.

“Internet voting presents far too many opportunities for hackers or even terrorists to interfere with fair and accurate voting, potentially in ways impossible to detect,” the computer experts said in a statement. “Such tampering could alter election results, particularly in close contests.”

Defense Department spokesman Glenn Flood said the Pentagon was confident the system is secure.

As we all know — especially from the 2000 election — it’s not the person casting the vote that has the power, it’s the person counting it.

Another interesting tidbit: the SERVE system only works on computers running… get ready for it… Windows! Not only does that immediately make it a security risk, but this is a system created by the same government that declared Microsoft a monopoly — a monopoly that they insist on strengthening. From Macintouch:

Their website proudly proclaims: Vote Using the Internet in 2004! And then goes on to give you the particulars:

Are you a Uniformed Services member or dependent? Are you a U.S. citizen living overseas? In 2004, you can take part in an exciting new initiative called SERVE (Secure Electronic Registration and Voting Experiment), which will let eligible U.S. citizens vote from any Windows-based computer with Internet access, anywhere in the world!

As an American living in Germany, I find it offensive (though not surprising) that my country has adopted a program that excludes from participation anyone not running Windows OS. So, I wrote the website the following letter:

I am a US citizen, residing in Germany. I am just a bit upset that I won’t be able to vote via the Internet, simply because my computers don’t run on the Windows operating system. The Internet was designed to be OS-agnostic, and I think anyone can see that beyond that, basing any security-demanding system on Windows can be taking a big chance! I look forward to an American election system that embraces the open idea of the Internet, and is not dependent upon an OS that, while certainly the most popular, is fraught with security holes.

I think that the powers that be — Diebold and other Republican-owned corporations — are pushing electronic voting, realizing they’ve found the perfect storm: in the aftermath of 2000, there is a demand for voting systems without “confusion.” They can turn that demand to their advantage by creating systems they can control and security they can compromise.
I think it’s time to go back to the old fashioned booth with pull levers, don’t you?

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