Argonne security experts calls voting systems insecure


No, it's not just paranoia: Voting machines really are insecure.

The latest expert voice on the subject is the head of Argonne National Laboratory's Vulnerability Assessment Team, Roger Johnston.

"In many cases, we see security devices or electronic voting machines where we really have to wonder, 'Did anybody spend 60 seconds figuring out the security issues?" he told NBC Chicago.

From the report yesterday, Easy Breach:

[Johnson] said he's found that most voting machines have almost no security to reveal tampering. Thus, he said, it's a fairly simple matter to tinker with the electronics while machines are in storage or being transported by the truckload. He has even demonstrated how he can turn cheating mechanisms in voting machines on and off by remote control.

The ability to hack voting machines has been on HBO (documentary Hacking Democracy), on CNBC when Bev Harris demonstrated how to alter an election result in 90 seconds, bypassing election-tabulating software's password protection, and in many other media. Tech experts have raised numerous serious concerns, such as a team at Princeton University showing that "it takes about 7 minutes, using simple tools, to replace the computer program in the [Sequoia] AVC Advantage with a fraudulent program that cheats."

How much more evidence do we need before our right to vote is protected?

A paper trail is necessary so if questions arise about an election results -- say, results significantly differ from scientifically valid exit polls, a standard used to check for fraud by election overseers in other nations -- there's a way to double-check results that can bypass potentially flawed software counts.

Sharon Machlis is online managing editor at Computerworld. Her e-mail address is You can follow her on Twitter @sharon000, on Facebook or by subscribing to her RSS feeds:
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