|QUOTE (Makai @ Mar 1 2012, 08:31 PM)|
|Simply cast the vote when home alone for secrecy?|
Professor Templeton's point is that the government can't guarantee that you'll be home alone to cast the vote. When you go in the voting booth, poll watchers are there and they can see that you are alone and know that no one else is seeing which way you voted while you have the ballot. But at home you could have an overbearing spouse or parent who insists on voting for you or on making sure you vote "the right way." You can't put a poll watcher in every house to make sure all the votes are cast without coercion.
The security aspect is also worrisome from my point of view. All it takes is one exploit anywhere in the system and hackers can compromise the whole system. I know some of the people from the University of Michigan who stole the election in the Washington DC electronic voting test mentioned in the segment. You can have all the security systems in the world, but all it takes to overcome it is one entry point because once you are inside, it's hard for the system to know that you don't belong there. And once the system is compromised, there's really no way to check its integrity.
There's a fundamental difference between doing your taxes or banking online and voting. When you're doing your taxes or paying bills online, there's only a relationship between you and the bank/tax service. The only reason a hacker might be interested in infiltrating that relationship would be to steal personal information or money from people, but it won't have a larger impact beyond the people directly affected. With voting, your vote is going to get added with everyone else's vote to decide who will be the next elected official. Stealing your vote can have a much larger impact on world affairs, so there would be a much greater interest in disrupting the election than in stealing your tax information.
And with tax information, you generally have your own records, so if something changes, you or the government will notice the difference. When you cast a vote, it's supposed to be secret, so you'll never be able to tell if it's been changed or not. Neither will anyone else, other than the hacker. Unless they find some completely new mechanism for security, dedicated hackers could always find a way in eventually. That's why security updates are always being released for operating systems and security software. When someone creates a new worm or virus, it usually exploits some vulnerability that no one's found before. So it's impossible to prove that your system is 10
0% secure. All you can know is that you've never been compromised, yet.
Electronic voting just worries me because of how hard it would be to detect if someone is inside the system and because you can't guarantee that there isn't someone pointing a gun at a voter, telling them to vote a specific way. Until there's a robust validation and verification mechanism in place, I wouldn't be comfortable with the results of an election decided by votes cast on the Internet.