Flaw in e-voting software?

Johns Hopkins' technical report

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Voters could cast multiple votes for one candidate on an electronic voting system because of possible flaws in the software that forms the systems' key component, said researchers at Johns Hopkins University.

Researchers studied computer code believed to be for the electronic voting equipment produced by Ohio-based Diebold Election Systems, a subsidiary of Diebold Inc. The code was anonymously posted on the Internet earlier this year.

One flaw is the use of a smart card that voters would need to access the voting machine. A voter intent on tampering with the system could program a counterfeit card, hide it and then use it to cast multiple votes for a single candidate, according to researchers.

"A 15-year-old computer enthusiast could make these counterfeit cards in a garage and sell them. Then, even an ordinary voter could cast more than one vote for a candidate at a polling place that uses this electronic voting system," said Avi Rubin, technical director of the Information Security Institute at Johns Hopkins.

According to the report, in 2002 elections, Georgia, California and Kansas used Diebold voting stations, on which votes are cast using a touch-screen monitor. Diebold also finalized an agreement July 21 to provide voting equipment for Maryland.

Many states have considered computer screen-voting systems as a better alternative to punch-card ballots after the problems discovered in Florida's ballot system during the 2000 presidential election.

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