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New Voting Machines Easy to Hack

The California recall election was almost derailed due to fears about using the same type of punch card ballots that skewed the Presidential election in Florida. These, as well as traditional voting machines, are rapidly being phased out in favor of touch-screen computers. But like all computers, they can be hacked.

Farhad Manjoo claims in Salon.com that Diebold's new computerized voting system, the country's leading touch-screen voting system, is so badly designed that votes can be easily changed. Reseacher Bev Harris allegedly found critical flaws in Diebold's voting software and she also claims to have uncovered internal Diebold memos in which employees suggest that the these problems aren't important. A Johns Hopkins University study also revealed questions about the security of the voting machines.

Diebold CEO Wally O'Dell has vowed to deliver his state of Ohio for Bush during the next election. Julie Carr Smyth writes in the Ohio Plain Dealer that O'Dell has been criticized for his close ties to the Bush re-election campaign. He says, "I'm not doing anything wrong or complicated, but it obviously did leave me open to the criticism I've received?I never imagined that people could say that just because you've got a political favorite that you might commit this treasonous felony atrocity to try to change the outcome of an election."

Some people try to buy an election with huge political contributions, while others may use more nefarious means. In a democracy, should political beliefs translate into winning at any cost?

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