California prepares to crack down on e-voting manufacturers

In an unprecedented attempt to shore up any possible flaws in its counties' electronic voting machines -- the same machines that have been examined and criticized nationwide on many occasions -- California will undertake a so-called "top-to-bottom" review of numerous systems from some half-a-dozen vendors, who must meet a set of seemingly rigid criteria if they want to receive certification for the 2008 election. Giving the proposed three-pronged approach -- initiated by Secretary of State Debra Bowen in collaboration with the University of California -- some real teeth is the fact that each of the three teams tasked with the actual work will be spearheaded by respected academics and leading private sector consultants, including none other than Princeton's Ed Felten, whose tireless efforts to expose the dangers of these shoddy machines are well known to readers of this site. Specifically, each system from manufacturers such as Sequoia, ES&S, and yes, everyone's favorite whipping boy Diebold will see a thorough review of their source code and documentation, along with what are being referred to as "red team penetration" attacks to test the terminals' hardware and software. Since companies are required to submit equipment for testing if they wish to partake in future elections, we could be seeing Diebold make the same begrudging exit from the Golden State as it did from North Carolina, for what we are not alone in suspecting is fear of exposing its flimsy code. Anyone who does choose to participate still risks being forced to make significant changes to their gear or perhaps even complete decertification, so when you Californians go to cast your votes in about eighteen months, don't be surprised if you have to mark up a piece of paper and drop it into a Equalivote-brand ballot box.

[Via Slashdot]