Lawmakers came close to requiring that state election officials implement online voting this year, with an eye toward allowing military personnel overseas easier access to the ballot box. A Watertown lawmaker plans to make a fresh attempt in the next regular session.
Computer scientists who took part in an Oct. 27 panel discussion organized by Secretary of the State Denise Merrill said, unanimously, such a system cannot possibly be secured. “Secure Internet voting is a bit like the phrase ‘safe cigarettes,'” said Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor Ron Rivest. “It’s just an oxymoron. It’s just not possible to do this securely.”
Rivest was joined by University of Michigan professor Alex Halderman, who, with a team of doctoral students, accepted an invitation to test the security of an online voting system in Washington, D.C. last year, days before it was scheduled to be used in an actual election.
Halderman’s team needed just 48 hours to take complete control of the online voting system, change votes, learn who had already voted and for whom, and change the names of candidates on the electronic ballots.
Halderman said the intrusion went undetected for two days, and was discovered because the team left a “calling card,” programming the system to play the University of Michigan fight song following each vote.
“This is the doomsday scenario,” Halderman said.
Full Article: Online voting on minds of lawmakers The Republican-American.