US's First Internet Votes To Be Cast This Friday
Slashdot is running an article today about the nation's first Internet-based voting system, which goes online this Friday.
Between Oct. 24 and Nov. 2, an estimated six to seven hundred U.S. citizens will use PCs with no hard drive and other disabled components (hardened laptops to remove security risks) located at specific kiosks in Germany, Japan and the U.K. to cast their votes for president. The Okaloosa Distance Ballot Piloting (ODBP) test program could help change the current bureaucratic obstacle course now affecting roughly 6 million overseas residents who must register earlier than other voters and whose mail-in absentee ballots could be mishandled.
Despite the favorable results of Director of the Security and Assurance in Information Technology (SAIT) Laboratory Alec Yasinac's security analysis, the mere fact that a wider computer security community has not been asked to evaluate the ODBP program has resulted in a multitude of unanswered questions.
"We should not go ahead until full details of the system have been disclosed," says David Dill, a professor of computer science at Stanford University, who has testified before Congress about electronic voting. Dill praises Okaloosa County's program for attempting to create a secure, verifiable system that includes the use of paper Voter Choice Records (VCRs) to allow for a 100 percent audit against the electronic votes. Other locations have adopted less secure alternatives for overseas voters, allowing them to send ballots in by fax or e-mail. Still, he believes the pitfalls outnumber the benefits. "If not for the VCRs, this entire proposal would be completely unacceptable," Dill says. "But if the goal is to hand count every one of them, that seems like a lot of overhead for what amounts to a complicated way to fill out paper absentee ballots. The way I look at it, the entire Internet voting part of this scheme is confusing and possibly harmful."
See more in Popular Mechanics.