If there are electronic voting machines where you live, and you've ever considered using one of those... well, you should probably reconsider.
In this CNN report (M4V video, 13 MB) Avi Rubin explains why voting machines are a really, really bad idea. To quote some issues raised in the video:
- There's no way for voters to verify that their votes were recorded correctly.
- There's no way to count votes in a publicly viewable fashion.
- Meaningful recounts are impossible.
- Machines must be trusted not to fail (and we all know that computers never fail, right? ... right?).
- The Diebold machines contain gross design and programming errors (a detailed analysis is available).
- The quality of voting machines cannot be determined, because their code is proprietary (closed systems can never be trusted, especially so in such important scenarios)
The CCC Berlin has a very detailed analysis of the topic (German), with many links to further articles.
I'd recommend everyone to not use voting machines at all, but rather perform traditional pen-and-paper voting, if you value your vote... Also, make sure to inform relatives and friends about the risks of voting machines, and complain to your local responsible authorities, and ask them to remove these unreliable, insecure machines.
Update 2006-09-18: Just in case you thought that maybe you can trust the Diebold machines after all - their locks can be opened with a standard hotel minibar key.
(via The Lunatic Fringe)