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Ohio Sec. of State: Electronic voting machines don't meet basic standards
David Edwards and Muriel Kane
Published: Tuesday December 18, 2007

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If you thought controversy over voting machines was a thing of the past, think again. Just in time for the 2008 election season, Colorado has decertified hundreds of faulty electronic voting machines for being error-prone and easily hacked. This news comes on the heels a massive study in Ohio that also found critical flaws in Buckeye State's voting machines.

Yesterday, Colorado Secretary of State Mike Coffman decertified three of the four voting equipment manufacturers allowed in the state -- affecting six of Colorado's 10 most populous counties -- for their inaccuracy and for the ease with which they could be hacked. Today, he backtracked slightly, noting that some of machines could still be used in November if a software patch was installed.

Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner spoke to MSNBC about Ohio's study, where teams were able to pick locks to access memory cards and use hand-held devices to plug false vote counts into machines. They also concluded that hacker could break into the machines with "a magnet and a PDA."

"We learned that there are critical security flaws," she says, "because these machines are essentially computer-based voting equipment, and they don't have the basic industry-required standards for security that we would use on computers that we use for banking or communications or other things in our everyday life."

Brunner has recommended that for the March primary, counties with touch-screen machines allow voters to request a paper ballot that can be scanned optically. She also reminded voters that they can vote through the mail using absentee ballots.

In the long run, Ohio may move to optical-scan ballots that would be checked by machine but also deposited in a ballot box and counted at the Board of Elections. Brunner also proposed an early voting period 15 days before elections at vote centers located throughout the state.


This video is from MSNBC's News Live, broadcast on December 18, 2007.




 
 


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