Remember ‘It’s Not the People Who Vote that Count; It’s the People Who Count the Votes’ ~ Stalin
The three states that will likely decide the election—Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania—have voting machines that are in relatively good shape. Florida has an audit requirement in place, while Ohio not only conducts audits, Smith says, it has an “automatic recount provision,” where close races trigger a manual recount without requiring a candidate to request one. “Pennsylvania is of the most concern” among those three, says Smith, “based on the fact they have so many paperless DREs in use.” Even there, though, election officials will actively deploy paper ballots in the event that those machines fail.
MIT computer scientist Ronald Rivest, who has written extensively [PDF] on voting machine issues.
Verified Voting also has a handy map of who votes using what equipment, which lets you drill down both to specific counties and machine brands, so you can see what’s in use at your polling station.
The extent of vulnerability isn’t just hypothetical; late last summer, Virginiadecertified thousands of insecure WinVote machines. As one securityresearcher described it, “anyone within a half mile could have modified every vote, undetected” without “any technical expertise.” The vendor had gone out of business years prior.
The WinVote systems are an extreme case, but not an isolated one. Other voting machine models have potentially vulnerable wireless components; Virginia’s just the only one where a test proved how bad the situation was.
The worst part about the current state of voting machines is that they don’t even require outside interference to undo an election. “They’re all computers. They run on tens of thousands of lines of code,” says Norden. “It’s impossible to have a perfectly secure, perfectly reliable computer.”