Can they hack it, or can they be hacked?
The incredible advances of technology and computing in our society over the last few decades has touched every aspect of our lives, from schools to businesses, from controlling traffic lights on the streets to keeping our airplanes from going bump in the night. Technology has managed to make the little tasks of life easier, while making the big picture so much more complex than ever before. We have sought to develop technology to improve and replace just about everything - email has taken over for the post office, blogs and webisodes are replacing television, and even books are more widely sold in electronic form. Is it any real surprise that those engineers and programmers are working to replace the old paper ballots and punchcards of voting as well?
Electronic voting systems are quite varied in style, construction, and capabilites. One of the more prevalent systems in use today is called Direct Recording Electronic. DRE is an adaptation of the mechanical lever machines, and utilize a touch screen or pushbuttons for user interaction. An alphanumeric keypad is often available as well, allowing for write-in votes. In 1996, 7.7% of the registered voters in the United States used some type of direct recording electronic voting system. (Bellis)
Other forms of electronic voting machine range from commercial, off-the-shelf laptops with simple programs to proprietary equipment with advanced security and identification systems. The biggest problem that most Americans have with all forms of electronic voting is that of security, of identification, and of accuracy and trustworthiness. One of the most prevalent threats in the world today is that of electronic security – any computer connected to a network can be hacked, can be controlled and tampered with, producing whatever information is desired.
The vulnerability to hacking is often cited as the key concern in implementing electronic voting...