Florida Voters Urge Secretary Browning To Kill Internet Voting Scheme
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By Florida Voters Coalition Press Release
May 29, 2008
They Say “Operation Bravo” is Dangerous and Illegal
In a letter to Secretary of State Kurt Browning, Florida Voters Coalition today called on Florida to kill a plan to allow Internet votes into Florida’s general election in November. The pilot program called “Operation Bravo” is proposed by Okaloosa County Supervisor of Elections, Pat Hollarn, who is also President of the Operation Bravo Foundation that supports it.
“We applaud efforts to improve voting opportunities for military and other overseas voters,” said Dan McCrea, President of FVC, “but this program opens Florida’s ballot box to insecure cyber-votes, cast on secret proprietary systems, and threatens Florida elections. The Legislature understood such threats when it passed the paper ballot requirement last year. Operation Bravo doesn’t use paper ballots making it illegal as well as dangerous.” McCrea said.
“Multiple studies of Internet voting schemes have concluded that several technology breakthroughs will have to occur before Internet voting can be considered safe,” said Stanford computer scientist, David Dill.
Operation Bravo plans to set up voting kiosks at three overseas military bases, in the UK, Germany and Japan, then send encrypted ballots over the Internet back to elections departments. That’s where the problems occur. The plan does not return a paper, or “marksense” ballot, as required by Florida law. And while it includes some security features, Florida Voters say it’s still not safe.
“These programs keep popping up,” said McCrea, “and computer scientists keep having to repeat that the underlying architecture of the Internet simply doesn’t allow them to be safe. Call them ahead of their time perhaps but we shouldn’t jeopardize Florida’s elections, however well-intentioned the motive or slick the technology, until we can agree that systems are safe.” McCrea said.
In its letter, Florida Voters also criticizes conflicts of interest on the part of the Okaloosa County Supervisor of Elections and the testing laboratory at Florida State University that has been involved in developing the project.
“We’re asking Secretary Browning, as the State’s Chief Elections Officer, to take whatever steps necessary to make sure that conflicts of interest are eliminated as a matter of safety, security, and legality.” said McCrea
FVC’s letter to Secretary Browning can be viewed at: http://www.floridavoters.org/downloads/BrowningLetter052908.pdf
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