Online balloting thwarts hackers

An electronic balloting service stopped 35 attempts to hack into the Reform

Party€s presidential nomination process in another successful step toward

online voting, eBallot.net Inc. officials said.

During a 72-hour window this month, 5,437 delegates cast ballots online

to select the party€s presidential nominee.

The online voting process started in July, when eBallot.net mailed 877,928

paper ballots to delegates, who were given a month to return the ballots.

Alternatively, delegates also received personal identification and voter

registration numbers so they could vote online from Aug. 7-9.

The online voting went smoothly, despite the 35 attempted attacks, including

one denial-of-service attempt, said Sharon Gilpin, director of business

development for eBallot.net. The Seattle-based company develops and administers

online election applications.

"If you have defense systems and you have enough time to detect what€s

going on, you can stop the attacks, and we did," Gilpin said. She said they

were "clumsy attempts to mess around," not serious attacks.

Gilpin said the voting window was kept small to ensure a secure process,

despite party officials€ willingness to keep it open longer.

"Their goal is the more participation, the better, which we applaud,"

she said. "They talked about a 30-day Internet window, but it would invite

attacks."

She said the success should help move Internet voting closer to the

mainstream but added that online voting likely won€t be adopted in the United

States in the near future. "Remote voting is a ways away," she said. "We

may see online voting at polling places, but I think we€ll see it in Europe

before we do here."

Because of the two voting methods, officials specified that the online

ballots would take precedence in the event a delegate voted twice. There

were 248 such votes.

Here€s a look at the balloting in the Reform Party process:

877,928 ballots were distributed.

79,148 ballots were returned (78,900 were valid).

72,631 ballots were cast on paper (47,567 for Pat Buchanan vs. 25,064 for John Hagelin).

5,437 ballots were cast on the Internet (1,962 for Buchanan vs. 3,475 for Hagelin).

Of the 78,900 valid ballots returned:

49,529 went to Pat Buchanan.

28,539 went to John Hagelin.

832 were abstentions.

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