Dear Editors of the Post Gazette
In the 1970s Nestle sold baby formula to impoverished breastfeeding mothers. The mothers were persuaded that being "modern" was best for their babies who, in epidemic proportions starved to death... all for the sake of "being modern", profit, and its victory over common sense. In your editorial "Trust, but Verify" you imply that the "potential of the computer age" would be lost if we used, as most of our country does use, optical scan voting, which is also by the way, a computer system.
Precinct based optical scan systems are advocated by the top computer security experts in the country for good reasons: Paper ballots are observable permanent records for voters and officials. They are by far easier to secure than software and vapor ballots. They are also the most cost effective. In contrast, its impossible to 100% guarantee that software is free of malicious code.
Security is a process, not a product. Software security requires on going vigilance. Our county officials apparently have learned software security from the vendors who designed security holes into their systems and whose work Dr. Avi Ruben says would have flunked out of his undergraduate computer security class at Johns Hopkins. Last week we heard from Allegheny County officials that a voting software audit means asking the software what version it is. Thats like asking a stranger if you can trust him with everyone's retirement account... at a distance, anonymously, and with no hope of ever knowing if the money was stolen or not.
Way to go Dan Onorato! You've avoided recounts and audits, permanently. Voters never see a permanent record of their vote! In an historical context steeped in election fraud, you've spun the purchase of our county's unsecurable elections as a victory... and you can be confident in your victory as the PG has yet to do any feature article on the security problems of eVoting... because doing that could damage voter confidence in the integrity of our elections.
I recall Nestle only changed their marketing of formula to African mothers when the publicity became a problem too... about decade later.
Richard King, Ph.D.