Expert cites dangers of electronic voting

Aug. 4, 2008 at 10:00 AM
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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind., Aug. 4 (UPI) -- A computer security expert in Indiana says electronic voting without a paper trail carries a number of risks including fraud and computer malfunction.

Eugene H. Spafford of Purdue University says he favors using a precinct-based optical scanning system that either prints the election ballot or fills out a ballot that is put through a scanner, the university said Monday.

Such a system, Spafford says, allows for quick counting and doesn't rely on humans to do it.

"At the same time, we have paper ballots as a backup and verification in case the counts come out very odd in some respect or in case there is some question," he says.

Spafford heads Purdue's Center for Education and Research in Information Assurance and Security.

He has testified before Congress and served on federal and military boards and committees dealing with cybersecurity.

Spafford says an optical scan system doesn't involve enormous cost and in some cases would be cheaper than current methods.

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