Scientists: High-tech votes can be hacked

Friday, 25 July 2003, 12:30 PM EST

Software flaws in a high-tech voting system could allow vandals to tamper with election results in several US states, computer security researchers said on Thursday.

Interest in electronic voting systems has grown since the 2000 presidential election, when problems with primitive punchcard systems in Florida led to a bruising, weeks-long recount battle ultimately settled by the Supreme Court.

But researchers at Johns Hopkins University and Rice University said they had uncovered bugs in a Diebold Inc voting system that could allow voters and poll workers to cast multiple ballots, switch others' votes, or shut down an election early.

"It's unfortunate to find flaws in a system as potentially important as this one," Tadayoshi Kohno, a graduate student at the John Hopkins Information Security Institute, said in a telephone interview.

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