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Vista On Its First Birthday

Yesterday was Super Tuesday, perhaps the most critical day for the

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InformationWeek Daily - Wednesday, Feb 6, 2008


Editor's Note

Internet Voting: Bad Idea Or Good Idea?

Yesterday was Super Tuesday, perhaps the most critical day for the presidential election until the general elections this fall. And some voters abroad had the option to cast their ballot online. That's online, as in over the Internet. Are we really ready for this?

If you are a Democrat overseas, you could have gone to VoteFromAbroad.org, where you had the option to download a PDF ballot to fax or mail in, or you could have voted online.

That just gives me the heebe geebees. It simply seems too easy to tamper with electronic information to trust electronic voting without a paper trail, let alone remote, Internet-based electronic ballots.

Although the traffic is encrypted to the voting Web site, all it takes is a number of insecure notebooks or desktops to infiltrate the system. Virus and worm writers have had no trouble crafting malware designed to pilfer usernames and passwords to access financial systems, so how difficult would it be to tinker with electronic votes?

And the argument that we conduct financial transactions online, so we can also vote online, doesn't hold much water for me. While I'm comfortable managing credit cards and financial accounts online because the banks and credit card companies reduce the consumer's culpability to $50 in most cases, there's no such insurance for an election gone bad.

What would happen if an election was compromised, and there was no way to prove who actually won? The only thing we'd have to recount, with Internet voting, would be the bits -- not paper -- and bits are just too easily altered, or destroyed, to trust with democracy.

Read the rest of my blog post and let me know whether you think Internet voting is a good idea or a bad idea by posting a comment.

George Hulme
[email protected]
www.informationweek.com

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