Re: Diebold Global Election Management System (GEMS) Backdoor Acc ount Allows Authenticated Users to Modify Votes
From: Craig Paterson (craigp_at_tippett.com)
Date: Tue, 28 Sep 2004 18:16:04 -0700 To: Adam Jacob Muller <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Adam Jacob Muller wrote:
> At a recent family gathering I spent about an hour trying to explain
> to various people why "open source" voting machines are more secure.
> Everyone perceived "open" as being able to go in and change votes...
> The fact that I was trying to explain the open source model for the
> first time did not help...
Therein lies the issue. Understanding the (possible) benefits of
open-source voting machines, and how computerized voting systems might
or might not be reliable and verifiable has two big problems:
i) it's obscure
ii) it's boring
It's obscure because at the least you need a grasp of various concepts
of computers and software to understand the terminology, let alone
decide on the relative merits of different approaches. It's boring
because people who don't know those things on the whole really don't
want to, especially given faith that "someone else is checking" and that
elections "don't get tampered with in the West" (etc.)
Paper votes are slow to count and may be spoiled. Ballot boxes may be
lost. But the basics can be grasped by just about anyone, and from there
much of the detail understood. It's a piece of paper, somehow marked to
indicate preference. Those pieces of paper are counted, and that count
decides who won (whether it's first past the post, STV, ATV or
whatever). Even the complicated stuff is understandable. That's why the
obvious compromise is a paper audit trail: the machines can count the
votes very quickly, but if there's a problem you can do it the
old-fashioned way, and everyone can understand the old-fashioned way.