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The Top-To-Bottom Review of California Voting Systems

Google Tech TalksDecember, 11 2007In elections employing electronic voting machines, we have observedthat poor procedures, equipment failures, and honest mistakes pose areal threat to the accuracy of the final tally. The event logs kept bythese machines can give auditors clues as to the causes of anomaliesand inconsistencies; however, each voting machine is trusted to keepits own audit and ballot data, making the record unreliable. If amachine is damaged, accidentally erased, or otherwise compromisedduring the election, we have no way to detect tampering or loss ofauditing records and cast votes.This talk begins with our experiences in real elections where we haveobserved these issues in the field, including a disputed primaryelection in Laredo, Texas as well as the recent Congressional electionin Sarasota, Florida. These issues motivate a new design for a votingarchitecture we call "VoteBox" which networks the voting machines in apolling place, allowing for replicated, timeline-entangled logs whichcan survive malice and malfunction to provide a verifiable audit ofelection-day events.Speaker: Dan WallachDan Wallach is an associate professor in the Department of ComputerScience at Rice University in Houston, Texas and is the associatedirector of NSF's ACCURATE (A Center for Correct, Usable, Reliable,Auditable and Transparent Elections). His research involves computersecurity and the issues of building secure and robust software systemsfor the Internet. He has testified about voting security issuesbefore government bodies in the U.S., Mexico, and the European Union,has served as an expert witness in a number of voting technologylawsuits, and recently participated in California's "top-to-bottom"audit of its voting systems.
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