Thursday, August 5, 2010

A Victory in Florida For Tighter Cyber Security?

It’s hard to be sure but it seems that Florida has stood down its plans to expand the use of online voting in November.

In an email yesterday to Florida Voters, Department of State Communications Director, Jennifer Krell Davis wrote:

“The Department does not intend to expand the use of electronic transmission of voted ballots.”

That would seem clear enough were it not for the unclear and unresponsive replies provided to related Florida Voters’ questions, and public records requests, in an ongoing correspondence seeking clarification.

For instance, Florida Voters asked the Department, for the fourth time, to document its finding that “secure electronic means can be established for receiving ballots from overseas voters.” Florida statutes require that before taking the next step - publishing an administrative rule to facilitate online voting.

The Department published such a rule in September 2007 and went on to certify the Okaloosa Distance Balloting Pilot – an online voting pilot conducted in Okaloosa County in the 2008 general election. The pilot was also known as Operation Bravo and Florida Voters raised a number of concerns about the program before it was certified.

In response, the Department pointed to a document published in September 2008, a year after it published the rule. The document, Software Review and Security Analysis of Scytl Remote Voting Software is a security review done for Operation Bravo pilot – a pilot dependent on the rule and the “secure means” finding to have preceded it. This circular logic is invalid and we’ve asked for additional clarification.

The correspondence is here and we’ll keep you posted on the Department’s reply.

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