Voting machines put democracy at risk

Yet another report indicates the most common electronic voting machine is vulnerable to tampering. Get this:

"If Diebold had set out to build a system as insecure as they possibly could, this would be it," says Avi Rubin, a Johns Hopkins University computer-science professor and elections-security expert.

Electronic voting machines were rushed into use after the 2000 national elections as a panacea to the hanging chad problem. Most alarming is that the machines can be easily fixed to alter votes in ways that are not obvious to the local government technicians responsible for managing the machines. The software in the machines can be rigged so that the machines will pass all pre-voting tests properly, but will still alter the results--and no one would know.

This is a classic example of relying on IT vendor problems without conducting any due diligence. What's even worse is that many local governments are now taking a "see no evil" approach to a real issue. The machines need to be returned to Diebold, the money should be refunded, and we need machines that produce an auditable paper trail--trivial to do.