from the fire-everyone dept
You know what doesn't help? Having election officials declare their e-voting machines unhackable. And yet that's exactly what officials in Pennsylvania's Allegheny County (think: Pittsburgh) have done.
Starting in the next few weeks and running past Election Day, the machines will undergo tests to ensure they are recording votes properly, that they have not been hacked and that they cannot be tampered with, said Mark Wolosik, longtime manager of the Allegheny County Elections Division. Each test is designed to check a potential breach in the system.That doesn't make me feel more confident. It makes me question the competence of those officials. Any such hardware can be hacked. Saying it can't means that you're just not understanding the threats you face, and that's more problematic. There are things that people can do to minimize the risks, and hopefully that's what's happening here, but giving a flat out "there is no way" statement is ridiculous on its face and is almost screaming out to have that statement mocked when the equipment is actually hacked.
“The voting public can feel confident,” Wolosik said. “Everything is tested extensively before the election, after election and on Election Day.”
Election officials in Allegheny and Westmoreland counties said they are confident their electronic voting systems are immune from hackers or malware that could alter election results.
“In my experience, there is no way to compromise these election systems,” said Dave Ridilla, head of Westmoreland County's computer information department.
The machines being used do not appear to have open source software that people can examine, and they don't have a paper backup, so if votes are tampered with there's really no clear way to know for sure. That's especially problematic. Yes, people may have done a good job securing the machines, but saying they can't be hacked is not just wrong, but it calls into question the competence of the people securing the machines.