http://ap.tbo.com/ap/florida/MGAJ6W8YGQC.html Published: Aug 16, 2001 FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) - Broward County officials considering the $20 million purchase of a touchscreen voting system want students to try to tamper with the computers during a mock election. "One of the biggest concerns raised is whether there is the potential for computer abuse, and we really need to see how foolproof or tamperproof this equipment is," county commission Chairman John Rodstrom said. "If there is a problem, it will happen now or later. And some of these kids are pretty smart." Broward Supervisor of Elections Miriam Oliphant is pushing for the touch-screen system, which records votes on computer discs after voters use a video monitor to choose candidates. Broward is forced to get rid of the punchcard ballots used in the last election. State lawmakers outlawed punchcards as part of an election reform package quickly pulled together after the embarrassing presidential election. Florida was the butt of jokes around the world as the country waited for a resolution to the presidential election while election workers squinted at ballots looking for dimples, pinpricks or hanging chads. Commissioners have two concerns about touch-screen voting: the cost and security. They want to hold mock elections at high schools and senior citizen communities to test computerized voting systems. The commission also wants the students to try to hack in during the mock vote. Some school board members don't want to send the wrong message to students by asking them to break into computers. "Hackers in training? I don't think so," said school board chairman Paul Eichner. "It's not the image I want for the Broward County School District." Not that there isn't precedent. A student once used a school district computer to hack into Canada's version of the CIA. Commissioners could also choose a far less expensive optical scan voting system, which Oliphant has said would cost the county $7 million. But Oliphant has said optical scan ballots, on which voters fill in a bubble or connect the ends of an arrow, can lead to missed votes and mistakes. The touch screen test would help show if the computers are as easy to use and mistake-free as touted and how easy it is to create a paper record of the vote from the computer discs. - ISN is currently hosted by Attrition.org To unsubscribe email majordomoat_private with 'unsubscribe isn' in the BODY of the mail.
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