HJR 174: Joint Subcommittee to Study the Certification, Performance,
and Deployment of Voting Equipment
August 16, 2004
At the joint subcommittees
organizational meeting, members heard two presentations. First, a representative
of CACI International Inc. described the just-completed study on the Development
of Security Policy, Standards and Guidelines for DRE Voting Systems that
he conducted for the State Board of Elections (SBE) in conjunction with
IFES (International Foundation for Election Systems) representatives.
Electronic (DRE) voting systems are the first completely computerized
voting systems and include the touch-screen type of equipment commonly
compared to ATM screens. The DRE equipment is arguably the most
versatile and user-friendly of current voting systems but also the
subject of much public debate concerning the possible manipulation of
the equipment and its security vulnerabilities.
The study concludes
that the use of DRE equipment must be accompanied by a formal SBE-level
DRE voting systems security program and jurisdiction-specific local electoral
board voting security programs. The local programs must be formal, documented,
and cover risk assessment, security procedures, training, and monitoring.
The secretary of
the SBE reported that the board has received the July 23rd report and
will be reviewing it to provide for implementation.
Second, a representative
of the Institute for Software Research International, School of Computer
Science, Carnegie Mellon University outlined the pros and cons of DRE
voting systems and voter verified paper ballots or trails. He emphasized
that DRE systems have been in use for 25 years without a verified incident
of tampering. However, he noted that there is a public perception that
DRE systems are subject to tampering as a result of well-publicized studies
pointing to security problems with the equipment.
The most frequently
proposed cure for DRE security problems is a paper record of each vote
that the voter can review and verify. The advantages are that the paper
trail will demonstrate to the voter that the machine has captured his
votes correctly and will create a sense of security among voters. Among
the disadvantages of a paper trail: no guarantee the vote was counted
or that the paper will be secured for a recount, massive paper handling
and securing of the paper, slowing the vote count, accessibility issues,
voter confusion and doubt, questioning of the machines when nothing is
wrong, and an increased demand for recounts.
The outcome of the
November 2004 election, when paper trails for DRE equipment will be used
in California, Missouri, and Nevada, may prove instructive.
The joint subcommittee
took note of several carry-over bills referred to it for study. Chairman
Hugo concluded that he and Vice Chairman Mims will confer with staff to
circulate a work plan for the joint subcommittee and will have the members
polled for the next meeting date.
The Hon. Timothy D. Hugo
Division of Legislative Services
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