Saturday, August 4, 2007

California Restricts Voting Machines

New York Times:
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) -- California's secretary of state placed rigorous security conditions on voting equipment used in dozens of counties and limited the use of two of the most widely used machines statewide....

University of California computer experts found that voting machines sold by three companies -- Diebold Election Systems, Hart InterCivic and Sequoia Voting Systems -- were vulnerable to hackers and that voting results could be altered.

Bowen said she had decertified the machines for use and then recertified them on the condition they meet her new security standards. When asked what would happen if the companies failed to do so, Bowen responded, ''I think they will.''...

The additional security requirements she imposed included banning all modum or wireless connections to the machines to prevent them from being linked to an outside computer or the Internet. Each machine that must be recertified also has a lengthy list of additional conditions it must meet, many of them highly technical.

She also required a full manual count of all votes cast on Diebold or Sequoia machines to ensure accuracy.

Bowen said the study revealed some vulnerabilities that would allow hackers to manipulate the systems ''with little chance of detection and with dire consequences.'' Her review also found that the machines posed problems for disabled voters.

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