My bleg: does anyone know of academic work defending the right of voting machine manufacturers to keep their machines from being independently tested for security?
At one point it may have been possible to dismiss concerns about voting machine security as paranoia from the Fahrenheit 911 crowd. But as one reads more and more pieces like this, the worries are impossible to ignore. Consider the following “black box” justification for black box voting:
[Researchers like Ed Felten] demonstrated the machineâ€™s vulnerability to an attack by means of code that can be introduced with a memory card. . . . Every 15 seconds or so [this] rogue program checks the internal vote tallies, then adds and subtracts votes, as needed, to reach programmed targets; it also makes identical changes in the backup file. The alterations cannot be detected later because the total number of votes perfectly matches the total number of voters.
Mark G. Radke, director for marketing at Diebold, said that the AccuVote machines were certified by state election officials and that no academic researcher would be permitted to test an AccuVote supplied by the company. â€œThis is analogous to launching a nuclear missile,â€ he said enigmatically, adding that Diebold had to restrict â€œaccess to the buttons.â€
I persisted. Suppose, I asked, that a test machine were placed in the custodial care of the United States Election Assistance Commission, a government agency. Mr. Radke demurred again, saying the companyâ€™s critics were so focused on software that they â€œhave no appreciation of physical securityâ€ that protects the machines from intrusion.
When I’ve voted (in Jersey City, New Haven, and Boston), physical security largely seemed to consist of a gaggle of befuddled and bleary-eyed poll workers.
At this point, I can’t understand any opposition to a demand that voting machines, like ATMs, give voters a receipt for their ballot that mirrors an unalterable internal system of vote counting. Am I missing something?