Monday, October 30, 2006

Slashdot | Venezuelan Interest In U.S. Voting Software

According to reports a Venezuelan company controls a leading provider of U.S. voting software [Slashdot]

While I very much doubt that electoral fraud is actually taking place this last news should surely cause concern. The idea that a corporation such as Diebold could hatch a plot to rig an election in their own country is not very credible. Corporations might have the technical capability to do such a thing but not the political will to act in concert without anyone reporting the activity to Law Enforcement.

The situation changes significantly when the proposition is to rig the election in a different country and changes entirely when the operation is being run by a government. The idea that a US company might have helped to rig the Nicaraguan elections during the Sandinista period is not at all far fetched. Given a reasonable chance of success the CIA would certainly have run such an opporation if the opportunity existed.

It is not at all farfetched to imagine that Chavez would attempt to rig a US election, any such attempt would be made through a front company and look very much like the current situation.

There are two ways to go about a remedy. The first is to try to regulate who is allowed to manufacture election machines for use in the US so that foreign ownership is prevented. In addition to being futile and expensive this would further fuel suspicions that there was a domestic attempt at ballot rigging.

By far the best solution would be to adopt a technology that is not as hopelessly insecure. In the UK we use a thing called a ballot paper and a pencil...

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