July 4, 2007 - Voting security tested
Copyright 2007 The Monterey County Herald
All Rights Reserved
Monterey County Herald ( California)
July 4, 2007 Wednesday
LENGTH: 258 words
HEADLINE: Voting security tested
BYLINE: The Monterey County Herald
SACRAMENTO (AP) In a room so secure that even Secretary of State Debra Bowen can't enter without an escort, a team of state experts is trying to hack into three electronic voting machine systems that will be used in California's first February presidential primary.
The technology professors, computer security experts and computer hackers are trying to prevent any problems similar to those that drew headlines in Florida in 2000 and Ohio in 2004.
"The voters need to feel confident that their votes are being counted," Bowen said.
The voting machines and other equipment are locked in cages when they are not being used. Documents and source codes are locked in special safes at night. The computer experts are monitored by four closed-circuit video cameras.
Despite the high security, the public can view the hacker team through closed-circuit monitors at the secretary of state's office building near the state Capitol.
Monday afternoon, what the public would have seen was six men sitting at computer terminals.
"That's really most of our job, sitting at a desk checking software," said the team's leader, Matt Bishop, a University of California-Davis computer science professor who has helped test voting systems in Florida and Maryland.
Bishop said part of his job is to intentionally make mistakes to see if it creates problems for vote-counting machines made by three companies: Sequoia, Diebold and Hart InterCivic.
The team is to present its report to Bowen by July 23. Her decision on any necessary changes to the machines is set for early August.