Computer Scientists Flunk Ohio’s Voting Systems

A team of computer scientists in academe joined colleagues in industry to sharply criticize the integrity of voting systems used in Ohio, a state crucial to the outcome of the past two presidential elections.

In their report, which was released Friday, the scientists concluded the following:
° Poll workers could install software bugs in the voting systems to reapportion votes.
° Standard practices in the use of cryptography, password management, and hardware security have not been followed.
° Auditing of the systems is untrustworthy.
° Software maintenance is “deeply flawed,” leading to lockups and crashes.

“All of the studied systems possess critical security failures that render their technical controls insufficient to guarantee a trustworthy election,” the scientists wrote in the report’s executive summary.

Patrick McDaniel, of Pennsylvania State University, and Matt Blaze, of the University of Pennsylvania, were among the computer scientists leading the study. They evaluated the systems of Elections Systems and Software; Premier Election Solutions; and Hart InterCivic.

In an article in today’s The New York Times, spokesmen for Premier and Election Systems and Software defended their company’s products.

As a result of the study, Jennifer Brunner, Ohio’s secretary of state, has recommended replacing all the states’ voting machines with optical-scan machines that produce a paper record of each vote cast.—-Andrea L. Foster

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