University researchers have found reason to distrust voting machines


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Every election cycle our Supervisor of Elections, John Abramson Jr., announces our electronic voting machines are to be publicly demonstrated, tested and certified prior to elections and makes it a point of pride to invite any individual — candidate, skeptic or otherwise — to view the testing of the voting machines as conducted by the Virgin Islands Election System.
 
Anyone who has taken the time to review findings generated by the ongoing CalTech/MIT Voting Technology Project would characterize demonstrations involving antiquated electronic voting machines such as the ones we use as frivolous, slight-of-hand dog and pony shows that dazzle and reassure only the technologically naive.
 
Here are just a few of the conclusions that thousands of computer science experts have contributed to and share consensus with regarding the CalTech/MIT Voting Tech­nology Project and electronic voting machines:
 
•    Computer scientists claim testing of software alone is inadequate to determine security and reliability of voting software and does not provide for examination of software for errors.
 
•    Electronic ballot images stored inside voting machines do not qualify as actual “ballots” since the voters never sees the ballot in order to physically verify their vote.
 
•    Electronic ballot images stored inside voting machines provide no physical record that can be retained for recount and audit purposes.
 
•    The only people possessing factual knowledge of whether votes are counted as cast are voting machine manufactures, voting machine programmers and malicious hackers.
 
•    Testing, demonstration and certification before the public and the media of electronic voting machines and tabulating equipment before election day do not replicate true election-day conditions.
 
•    Testing, demonstration and certification may show an external scrutiny of the voting machines but do not reveal whether the testers are analyzing the logic of the software and whether the security of the software used to encode votes are actually encoding votes as cast.
 
•    Testing, demonstration and certification do not guarantee that the people doing the testing, demonstration and certification are computer security experts.
 
And according to his recent testimony in front of the Senate, Abramson now characterizes himself as a computer expert. 
 
Well isn’t it obvious that if testing the voting machines is meaningless, the tests themselves also are meaningless?
 
— Hope Gibson lives on St Croix

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