*****SPAM***** [Politech] Overseas U.S. voter website cordoned off by Defense Department [fs]

From: Declan McCullagh (declan@private)
Date: Tue Sep 21 2004 - 21:43:26 PDT

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Here's a News.com article on it too:
The U.S. Defense Department said Tuesday that it's trying to find a way 
to permit American expatriates to connect to an absentee voting site 
that has been cordoned off because of the risk of hackers.
Internet users in large portions of the world have been blocked from 
connecting to the voting assistance Web site, which tells absentee 
voters how to cast ballots in the November election. The list of 
Internet providers that appear to be blocked includes British Telecom, 
Wanadoo, Telefonica and China Telecom. [...]


-------- Original Message --------
Subject: [Fwd: Overseas Voter Website Censored by U.S. Government]
Date: Tue, 21 Sep 2004 14:13:32 -0700
From: Jacob Appelbaum <jacob@private>
To: Declan McCullagh <declan@private>

For Politech if you're interested?

-----Forwarded Message-----
From: Will Doherty <will@private>
To: jacob@private
Subject: Overseas Voter Website Censored by U.S. Government
Date: Tue, 21 Sep 2004 14:05:59 -0700

Verified Voting Foundation Media Release

For Immediate Release: Tuesday, September 21, 2004


Will Doherty
    Executive Director
    Verified Voting Foundation
    +1 415 695-0543 (office), +1 415 425-3936 (cell)

Pamela Smith
    Nationwide Coordinator
    Verified Voting Foundation
    +1 760 613-0172 (cell)

Overseas Voter Website Censored by U.S. Government

Verified Voting Foundation Provides Workaround

The International Herald Tribune reported on September 20
that "the Pentagon has begun restricting international
access to the official Web site intended to help overseas
absentee voters cast ballots." Pentagon spokeswoman
Lieutenant Colonel Ellen Krenke confirmed that a number of
Internet service providers worldwide had been blacklisted
"to thwart hackers." Such measures are generally recognized
to be ineffective against hackers while blocking legitimate

Apparently, the Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP)
website is now blocked to some civilians overseas trying to
find out how to obtain absentee ballots in at least 25
countries -- including Japan, France, Great Britain, and
Spain -- although military personnel overseas have other
mechanisms for requesting absentee ballots.

As a service to overseas U.S. citizens, the Verified Voting
Foundation (VVF) is making the FVAP website available
through connections in the U.S. at

"We at the Verified Voting Foundation are shocked that the
Pentagon has decided to prevent overseas civilians from
accessing absentee ballot information," said the
organization's Executive Director Will Doherty. "We abhor
any policy that prevents or deters eligible voters from
voting and having their votes counted accurately."

Although other governments--notably the People's Republic
of China and Saudi Arabia--prevent citizens' access to
certain websites through official censorship and blocking,
this is an unusual case because it blocks the government's
own public information site from certain groups of citizens.

Two states currently allow military voters overseas to email
their votes. Twenty others permit faxed votes. Verified
Voting Foundation Nationwide Coordinator Pamela Smith
commented, "It is an excellent use of electronic resources
to email or fax a blank ballot or instructional materials to
a voter, but for a voter to return a voted ballot by email
or fax is NOT a secure system of voting."

In a recent article, a spokesman for the email voting
program suggested this was a better alternative to "ballots
getting lost in the mail"--but ballots could also be "lost"
via email.

Even worse, voters who fax or email their votes lose the
benefits of a long tradition of secret ballots in the U.S.

For this media release:

For the page that permits access to the FVAP site and
provides further information on this topic:

To register to vote in the U.S. (use FVAP for overseas):

For media coverage of this story:

For more information on reliable and secure voting:

PRESSLIST: Media professionals are invited to subscribe
to the Verified Voting presslist by sending an email to
press@private with their contact information.

About Verified Voting Foundation:

The Verified Voting Foundation is a nonprofit organization
championing reliable and publicly verifiable elections.
Founded by Stanford University Computer Science Professor
David Dill, the organization supports a requirement for
voter-verified paper ballots for all voting technology,
including electronic voting machines, to allow voters to
inspect individual permanent records of their ballots and
election officials to conduct meaningful recounts as
needed. The organization's website is at

                            - end -
Jacob Appelbaum <jacob@private>

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