How Can You Test An E-Voting Machine For Malfunctions If You Don't Get To Test The Machine?

from the just-wondering dept

Now that Florida's governor has admitted that e-voting machines without a paper trail are not such a good idea (though, the optical scan machines he wants to replace them with have their own problems), you would think that Florida would be all for a thorough investigation into the problems of the old machines. Perhaps not. Remember Sarasota, where a bunch of votes appear to have gone missing? In the lawsuit over this, the judge denied the request to see the e-voting software source code, saying there needed to be more evidence that the machines malfunctioned first. At the same time, however, the Department of State in Florida has been trying to commission an "independent" study of the e-voting software, and even spoke to Ed Felten about joining the team. He's listed as one of the investigators, though he actually declined to take part. Why? Well, it turns out that they want the investigation to take place without actually letting the experts view the working software or the e-voting machines. Instead, it only wants to give them the source code and let them comb through the source code alone to try to figure out where the malfunction could have occurred. It's great that at least some experts are finally getting a chance to look at the source code, but it makes you wonder why all of these e-voting security tests always have strict limitations on them. If they really wanted to know what the security vulnerabilities are, shouldn't they make the test much more complete?
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  1. identicon
    Jo, 7 Feb 2007 @ 5:14pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Read your original article, it was a judge that denied the request, not an election company.

    When requested to see the source code, the company was happy to do so.

    You can deny it all you want, but your conspiracy theory has skewed your perspective and now your thoughts are governed by your emotions; fear primarily. I don't say this to insult you; I say it to point out a serious pandemic that many people like yourself have been inflicted with. It’s the fear that the world is out to get you and that little evil monsters live inside the voting machines. You (and I only use you as an example, I actually think you’re intelligent and well written) have been duped by the dupers and they have won, and as a result, they sell ads, books, tv spots, and get voted in to office by leaving the doubters at home on election day. They have made even some of the smartest people doubt these machines, not because they have failed the people, but because it benefits those in power for you to doubt them; it keeps them in office or it makes them money because you continue to contribute hits to their websites and buy their books. The companies have always complied with legitimate requests to test and inspect the software. They handed over their source code for review on multiple occasions and have never denied the request of any U.S. government authority to review the code or test the equipment.

    I am not trying to insult anyone; I am pinpointing the real problem, which is this fear that has skewed the thoughts of the public. This string of comments is a prime example. Reread the original article, the government blocked the review, the company complied, the companies always comply when the request is legitimate, but that never makes the headlines or the blogs that you read, if it did, you’d stop reading them and the blogs wouldn’t be able to sell ads and books would collect dust on the shelves. The companies own the code, and can not be made to decipher between private requests to legitimately test the system and those who want to test it so they can write books, sell ads on their websites, make HBO specials, define their otherwise obsolescent career, or achieve relative fame; all by spreading fear. So the companies will always comply when requested by the authorities, but can not comply when requested by individual groups of fear mongering profiteers whose end-game is to twist the truth and damage the company and democracy even further.

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