Got a PDA and a magnet? You could switch votes cast in an Ohio election by connecting your PDA to the voting machine.
A study conducted over a two-month period this year found that Ohio's voting systems are seriously flawed. An 86-page report released by Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner says, "The findings in this study indicate that the computer-based voting systems in use in Ohio do not meet computer industry security standards, and are susceptible to breaches of security that may jeopardize the integrity of the voting process."
When Brunner was campaigning for her office seat, she promised a top-to-bottom overview of Ohio's voting system.
Her findings have broad implications. With the election less than a year away, Ohio is an important swing state, decisive in returning President Bush to office in 2004.
A team of researchers from Microsolve Inc., Penn State and the University of Pennsylvania found critical security failures in all five voting systems used across the state.
The software is problematic, as well. The report found that servers crashed easily. Crashes in 2007 delayed results for hours.
Brunner recommends that all touch-screen machines in Ohio be replaced with optical scan paper ballot machines, so that the results can be more easily verified.
"We know this type of system will work because [many states] already use it," she said.
Brunner was not Ohio's secretary of state when the current voting machines were purchased. When asked why flawed systems were put into operation, she replied, "I'm dealing with the system that I inherited."