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General News    H3'ed 10/30/09

In time for Halloween, spectre of Internet voting re-emerges

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The recently signed "Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment Act" includes a mandate to establish pilot programs to study electronic voting.

Voting News gives the following link for the text of H. R. 2647: or

Voting via the Internet seems to be one of the options to be studied. This is suggested by the following clauses:

* Section 589(c)(3) "The transmission of ballot representations and scanned pictures..."

* Section 589(c)(4) "Capturing, retaining, and comparing electronic and physical ballot representations."

* Section 589(e)(1) The pilot project is to conform to the "electronic absentee voting guidelines" which shall be provided by the Electronic Assistance Commission.

These clauses are admittedly ambiguous--almost artfully so. They don't say, "Explore casting ballots via the Internet"; but they don't disallow it either. Compare that to another recent congressional bill, H. R. 1739, which pointedly disavows any interpretation that it would authorize voting via the Internet. See the bill's Section 14, "RULE OF CONSTRUCTION REGARDING INTERNET VOTING." or

This is not the first Federal attempt to sidle up to Internet voting. In 2004, the Pentagon established just such a pilot program. But they wisely deep-sixed it after a panel of respected computer experts deemed Internet voting to be folly, barring a radical redesign of the Internet. or click here

Here are some other disturbing links relating to Internet voting.


U.S. Steps Up Effort on Digital Defenses or


Or American intelligence agencies could activate malicious code that is secretly embedded on computer chips when they are manufactured, enabling the United States to take command of an enemy's computers by remote control over the Internet. That, of course, is exactly the kind of attack officials fear could be launched on American targets, often through Chinese-made chips or computer servers.

"We have seen Chinese network operations inside certain of our electricity grids," said Joel F. Brenner, who oversees counterintelligence operations for Dennis Blair, Mr. McConnell's successor as national intelligence director, speaking at the University of Texas at Austin this month. "Do I worry about those grids, and about air traffic control systems, water supply systems, and so on? You bet I do."

"The fortress model simply will not work for cyber," said one senior military officer who has been deeply engaged in the debate for several years. "Someone will always get in."

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Roy Lipscomb, Emeritus Director for Technology, Illinois Ballot Integrity Project

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