(Hat tip: Instapundit)
CIA cybersecurity expert Steve Stigall testified to the federal Election Assistance Commission last month that computerized voting systems can be manipulated in a host of ways from altering voter registration lists to the posting of balloting results. The CIA undertook a study of the systems a few years ago as it looked into the legitimacy of elections in Venezuela, Macedonia, Ukraine and other nations and also to better understand whether foreigners might try to hack U.S. election systems:
Stigallsaid that voting equipment connected to the Internet could be hacked, and machines that weren't connected could be compromised wirelessly. Eleven U.S. states have banned or limited wireless capability in voting equipment, but Stigall said that election officials didn't always know it when wireless cards were embedded in their machines.
While Stigall said that he wasn't speaking for the CIA and wouldn't address U.S. voting systems, his presentation appeared to undercut calls by some U.S. politicians to shift to Internet balloting, at least for military personnel and other American citizens living overseas. Stigall said that most Web-based ballot systems had proved to be insecure.
The commission has been criticized for giving states more than $1 billion to buy electronic equipment without first setting performance standards. Numerous computer-security experts have concluded that U.S. systems can be hacked, and allegations of tampering in Ohio, Florida and other swing states have triggered a campaign to require all voting machines to produce paper audit trails.
In the former Soviet republic of Georgia, Stigall said, hackers took resurrecting the dead to "a new art form" by adding the names of people who'd died in the 18th century to computerized voter-registration lists. Macedonia was accused of "voter genocide" because the names of so many Albanians living in the country were eradicated from the computerized lists, Stigall said.
He said that elections also could be manipulated when votes were cast, when ballots were moved or transmitted to central collection points, when official results were tabulated and when the totals were posted on the Internet.
But we don't need to add to the potential for questionable outcomes and bet our democracy on new systems that may not be secure -- or even systems that don't inspire the voters' confidence. We have enough troubles.
What's your opinion of computerized voting -- and its logical extension, Internet voting? Post a comment.