Is E-Voting Safe?

Security Holes: How to Hack an E-lection

Illustration: Christoph Nieman
Experts who have studied electronic voting say there are several ways determined criminals could hack the vote.

Inside Job: Employees at a voting machine maker insert vote-rigging code into a software release before shipping it. When the election starts, votes flip from one candidate to a rival. It's the most paranoid of scenarios, but also the most likely to succeed.

Wiretap: A hacker intercepts the encrypted calls from each precinct into the election center PC and phones in his own results to headquarters. Winners are announced, and then officials discover the local smart card tallies don't match. Panic!

The Paper Caper: E-voting proponents claim that voter-verified printouts will prevent ballot box skulduggery. Oh yeah? Hackers could rig the system to flip a small percentage of votes and allow the machine to print out the switched vote. In their haste to leave, many voters either won't notice or won't bother to revote.

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