Who says America's electronic voting machinery cannot be hacked? One of the world's largest and best-known hacker conventions, DEF CON, debuted an interactive "Voting Machine Hacker Village" this year at its annual gathering in Las Vegas. In some cases within minutes, and in other cases within a few hours, of the village doors' opening, hackers in attendance said they had successfully breached some systems. The security investigators claimed to have found major vulnerabilities or claimed to have breached every voting machine and system present.
Members of the DEF CON hacking community said they took complete control of an e-poll book, a type of election equipment in use in dozens of states where voters arrive at precincts, sign in and receive their ballots. Other targets hackers claim had major security flaws include the Sequoia AVC Edge, currently in use in 13 states and the AccuVote TSX, in use in 19 states. (Those machine usages are according to Verified Voting, an election transparency advocacy group.)
The organizers of Voting Village emphasized that in the past, corporations had resisted acknowledging the security flaws surrounding computer systems. After laws were passed requiring businesses to acknowledge security breaches, there has been a significant change in corporate security culture. DEF CON participants expressed the conviction that a similar trajectory is necessary for U.S. election officials.
Lulu Friesdat is an Emmy award-winning journalist whose many news assignments include producing election coverage for MSNBC and editing with the CBS Evening News and Good Morning America. She received a Best Documentary award for directing her first feature-length documentary, Holler Back: [not] Voting in an American Town. Follow her on twitter @LuluFriesdat.