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. icon
    Mike (profile), 6 Feb 2007 @ 3:33pm

    Re: Don't talk about something you don't understan

    Voting software is subject to intense scrutiny and testing. To be deployed, the software and machines must pass intense federal certification including source code reviews and functionality testing.

    Uh huh. That's why the Federal Gov't just discovered that the companies they'd hired to do the testing hadn't actually been doing the testing. In other words, despite what you believe, no, the "intense scrutiny and testing" didn't happen.

    . The practice of letting everyone and anyone test this again is stupid. Why hand this stuff over to all of you conspiracy hackers when it's already been fully qualified by federal authorities?

    Ah, "conspiracy hackers," huh? Why *wouldn't* you want to hand it over to them. If they are unable to hack it, wouldn't you prove that the machines were really secure? What possible reason could there be not to let them try? And, again, the machines WERE NOT fully qualified by federal authorities. That's part of the problem.

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