Senate to Hold Hearing on Security of Voting Machines

By Kim Zetter July 31, 2007


In the wake of the California report released last week showing that Red Team security researchers were able to hack voting machines from three of the top voting machine companies, Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-California) announced today that the Senate Rules and Administration Committee will hold a hearing in September to examine the report's findings. From the press release:


“I was very surprised to read how easily these machines could be hacked into and election results distorted,” Senator Feinstein said. “This report demonstrates the precarious risk of relying on electronic voting machines, especially when a verified paper record is not provided. These findings are yet another reason that states and counties should consider a move to optical scan machines that provide an auditable, individual voter-verified paper record without having to rely on a separate printer.”


One wonders where the senator has been the last four years that she's surprised by the findings revealed in the report. Feinstein introduced a bill earlier this year that would require voting machines nationwide to produce a paper trail, but the bill has received little support in the

Senate thus far.


Another bill that Congressman Rush Holt (D-New Jersey) introduced in the House years ago (and reintroduced this year) is making better progress, though its path has hardly been smooth. As I reported two weeks ago, the bill almost died due to arguments among interest groups over sections of the bill dealing with the paper trail mandate and voter accessibility. A compromise was apparently reached this week (see the draft version that's been circulating on the internet), but voting activists are steaming mad with it since it would allow touch-screen machines with add-on printers to continue to be used. The machines use thermal paper, such as the kind used

in cash registers.