National security experts say hackers backed by foreign governments are trying to influence the U.S. election, and the nation’s voting infrastructure is dangerously vulnerable. Time for an overhaul, they say. But when county officials in Austin, the capital of Texas, wanted to replace their voting equipment in 2012, they didn’t like what they saw. Electronic machines on the market had security problems. Voter-marked paper ballots can leave room for interpretation. So County Clerk Dana DeBeauvoir called Rice University computer science professor Dan Wallach, who has been poking holes in voting-machine security for years. He’s testified before Congress on the subject. Now DeBeauvoir wanted him to design a new one. “Wow,” he says. “That doesn’t happen very often.”
The last time voting technology went through a major design change was after the disastrous Florida recount in the 2000 presidential election. Confusion over badly designed and incompletely punched paper ballots threw the results into chaos.
In 2002, Congress passed the Help America Vote Act, committing $4 billion to help localities buy new electronic voting machines. “All of these machines, we understand now, are wildly insecure,” Wallach says. “Even though the vendors made claims that they were great, those claims have turned out to be false. And we’re now dealing with that problem.”
But replacing them costs money that many localities don’t have, and it’s not clear that Congress will pony up again. So Wallach’s new system would have to be cheaper than what’s on the market now.
Full Article: Researchers Develop Hard-to-Hack Voting Machine.