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E-voting rejected in Ohio

The state is balking at using the technology, citing security concerns

By Dan Verton
July 19, 2004 12:00 PM ET

Computerworld - Ohio Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell on Friday barred officials in three counties from purchasing electronic voting machines after a second round of security testing showed that the systems still have an unacceptable level of security flaws.
The decision blocks the deployment of e-voting systems from Diebold Election Systems in Hardin, Lorain and Trumbull counties. Thirty-one counties in Ohio have now postponed using e-voting systems until after the November presidential election. Seven counties, however, have already purchased paperless e-voting systems.
"As I made clear last year, I will not place these voting devices before Ohio's voters until identified risks are corrected," Blackwell said. "Diebold Election Systems has successfully addressed many, but not all, of the problems that were identified in our first security review. The lack of comprehensive resolution prevents me from giving county boards of elections a green light for this November."
Will Doherty, executive director of VerifiedVoting.org, a grass-roots organization calling for voter-verifiable paper audit trails for all e-voting systems, applauded Blackwell's decision and said voter-verified paper ballots should be the ballots of record for all voting systems.
"Precinct-based optical scan or other new technologies will likely outstrip the current generation of e-voting machines as the best technology for secure, reliable and transparent elections," he said.
In December, Blackwell released results from two comprehensive examinations that identified 57 potential security risks within the software and hardware of the voting devices manufactured by Diebold, Election Systems & Software Inc., Hart InterCivic Inc. and Sequoia Voting Systems. As a result of that testing, Blackwell ordered the vendors to correct the problems or face a halt in deployment.
Diebold Election Systems was the only vendor to submit revised voting software and hardware for retesting.
Blackwell's decision follows the lead of California Secretary of State Kevin Shelley, who on April 30 issued a directive decertifying e-voting systems in 10 counties, pending security improvements. The directive also banned the use of touch-screen systems from Diebold.
For more about this topic, see our E-Voting Special Coverage page.

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