Sunday, February 08, 2004
The Pentagon won't use an Internet voting system for overseas U.S. citizens this fall because of concerns about its security, an official said Thursday.

The official, who requested anonymity, said Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz made the decision to scrap the system because Pentagon officials were not certain they could "assure the legitimacy of votes that would be cast."

Computer security experts who last month reviewed the Secure Electronic Registration and Voting Experiment, or SERVE, had urged the Pentagon to scrap the system, saying it was too vulnerable. The experts said the system could be penetrated by hackers who could change votes or gather information about users.

All this is very nice, but the disclosure came just two days before Michigan used the Pentagon's system for their Democratic primary. (See below.)

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Thousands of Michigan Democrats have cast ballots for Saturday's caucuses using an Internet system that security experts say shares some of the risks found in a just-scrapped Pentagon effort.

Party officials insist they have safeguards and note that these particular ballots, unlike those in the $22 million Pentagon program, are not meant to be secret.
. . .

Voting in Michigan began in early January, long before the Pentagon decision, which reflects concerns that the legitimacy of Internet votes cannot be assured. Michigan party officials did not return calls seeking comment on the decision.

I guess they don't get it either. No matter how secure the voting system is made to be, it is the Internet itself that cannot be made secure.

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