Voting Machines: California Gets a Clue

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California is one of the few jurisdictions that is belatedly starting to do the right thing with electronic voting machines: subject them to rigorous testing by qualified computer security experts. Ars Technica describes the latest results here: California’s testing cracks ES&S evoting system wide open.

The bottom line seems to be that all of the electronic voting machines currently in use can easily be subverted using simple techniques available to any teenage hacker.

Most of the attention so far has focused on touch-screen voting machines, but the popular optical-scan ballot systems are also made by the same companies and have many of the same security flaws. The advantage of the optical-scan systems is that you have the paper ballots and can use them for a manual recount which should reveal any fraud. The fraud can still go undetected if you don’t suspect it and don’t order a recount.