New Reports Cast Doubt on Internet Voting

By Gregory M. Lamb writer of The Christian Science Monitor | The Christian Science Monitor, February 2, 2004 | Go to article overview

New Reports Cast Doubt on Internet Voting


Gregory M. Lamb writer of The Christian Science Monitor, The Christian Science Monitor


Computers are spreading into nearly every aspect of American life, but the door may have just slammed shut on them as they try to enter the polling booth. Two recent reports have called for pulling the plug on online voting unless serious security concerns are addressed. Many security experts say the flaws cannot be fixed.

The new reports cast a harsh light on this Saturday's upcoming Democratic caucuses in Michigan, where many voters have already cast their ballots remotely using electronic voting.

All the current controversy has one big benefit, says Richard Valelly, a political science professor at Swarthmore (Pa.) College and a close observer of the American electoral system. "We're moving now to more of a point of debate about it [online voting]. And that's all to the good."

Some of harshest criticisms involve SERVE (the Secure Electronic Registration and Voting Experiment). Conducted by the Defense Department, SERVE is supposed to allow 100,000 Americans living abroad, including armed services personnel, to vote via the Internet in primaries and the November election. United States citizens abroad selected for the experiment could visit the SERVE website from any computer connected to the Internet and cast their ballots.

But a review of the SERVE system issued by four security experts Jan. 21 found serious risks of corruption. The report urged that SERVE be shut down and that voting via the Internet not be attempted at any time in the foreseeable future.

As a result, last week several organizations representing Americans living overseas, including the groups Republicans Abroad and Democrats Abroad, recommended that SERVE not be used in this year's elections, the Washington Post reported.

Meanwhile, a review of Maryland's online touch-screen voting system - initiated by the state last week - triggered more skepticism.

The system "contains considerable security risks that can cause moderate to severe disruption in an election," said RABA Technology, the firm employed to test the system. The risks were present even though the system is intended to be used at polling places and does not send information over the Internet, removing one major source of possible tampering.

The report did say that if certain fixes were made, the state's March primary election could be held using the machines. But it called for new security measures to be taken before the November general election, including adding a feature that would create paper receipts for voters.

The major hurdle for online voting is technical. Unlike, say, e- commerce, where amounts are pegged to a certain person, balloting systems have to count votes accurately and yet also preserve anonymity. Add the vagaries of the Internet, and the challenges of fraud prevention are huge.

"E-commerce-grade security is not good enough for public elections," says the review report of the SERVE overseas voting system. "[T]he existence of technology to provide adequate security for Internet commerce does not imply that Internet voting can be made safe."

The report confirms the conclusions of earlier studies by the California Secretary of State's Task Force on Internet Voting and the Internet Policy Institute, both of which found serious flaws in Internet voting schemes.

"There would have to be some fundamental changes to PC architecture and to Internet architecture for [Internet voting] to be possible," says Avi Rubin, one of the four authors of the SERVE report, who is a professor of political science and technical director of the Information Security Institute at the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

New Reports Cast Doubt on Internet Voting
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.