Late last week, California Secretary of State Kevin Shelley said that additional security measures will be taken by county elections officials to avoid problems with computerized voting machines, whose security and reliability has been questioned in a number of recent studies. As part of the measures, counties will have to keep images of each ballot cast on record; post voting results on every machine at each precinct for public display; and prepare a voting equipment security plan for review by state officials. The directives prohibit attaching the machines to the Internet.
California is in part reacting to a finding by computer scientists hired by Johns Hopkins’ Information Security Institute, which found that Maryland’s electronic voting machines, made by Diebold Election Systems, were easy prey for hackers. Many California precincts use the same voting system. Last year, Shelley took the first steps toward ensuring accuracy by requesting that California’s electronic voter systems provide voters with a verifiable paper trail, designed to validate that votes have been recorded properly. The technology to implement a paper trail is being developed.