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Report on US voting systems

Fortify : 16 October, 2008  (Technical Article)
Fortify assists voters in choosing the most reliable and secure voting methods in report on voting in the American Presidential elections
Fortify Software has released a report on the current state of voting systems in America including a guide to choosing the most secure voting method for the November elections. Furthermore, the study points to the lasting inadequacies of today's electronic voting software, and calls upon elections officials and voting machine manufacturers to work alongside government officials in establishing better security metrics for the development of e-voting software.

"In November, voters will participate in one of the most critical elections in US history, and unfortunately many will still be at risk of inaccurate vote tallying and e-voting software vulnerabilities," says Brian Chess, Chief Scientist and Co-Founder of Fortify Software. "It is important for voters to understand the voting methods available as they go to the polls in order to make sure their vote is counted. The voting public must also urge government and manufacturers to adequately address the insecurities that remain in these systems and that weaken the integrity of our democratic process."

Fortify's report, Voting in America, recommends the following voting methods in order of most desirable to least desirable to voters this November:.

1) Hand-Counted Paper
2) Optical Scan
3) Absentee
4) Direct Recording Electronic (DRE)
5) Lever Machine
6) Punch Card

While not all voting methods are available in every state or precinct, Fortify suggests that voters take advantage of the most secure option available to them.

"It is simply dangerous to rely on today's electronic voting machines to deliver a fair and accurate election," said Avi Rubin, PhD Professor of Computer Science at John Hopkins University. "The software flaws we uncovered before the 2004 election continue to plague today's voting systems, and Fortify Software's study provides voters with a solid assessment of their voting options for this November."

Additionally, the study notes that the growth of large, urban voting populations continues to add to the complexity of the American voting system, and has made electronic voting systems crucial to achieving an inclusive elections process; however, today's software-based voting machines remain inherently insecure. The report also concludes that in order to accommodate to the growing voter population, government and voting machine manufacturers must work to ensure that these technologies are developed with both accuracy and security in mind.

"The technology used for voting machines is an innovation which our democracy depends on," adds Chess. "Elections officials and voting manufacturers need to focus on putting the right processes and technologies in place to make voting safe and reliable."

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