Must see: Hacking Democracy

Just got finished watching Hacking Democracy, a documentary exposing the vulnerabilities and errors rampant in electronic voting machines.

For all its attempts to be shocking (a la Michael Moore), the film is a bit more subdued in its point – but all the better for it.

Hacking Democracy tells the story of essentially one lady, Bev Harris, who has made it her crusade to reveal to the world (or American voting public) how insecure and erroneous the use of electronic voting systems are – systems that count nearly 90% of votes cast in the US.

The film gives some pretty solid evidence to its point, cut, of course, with claims from the machines’ manufacturers that they are completely secure.

From the HBO synopsis:

In the 2000 presidential election, an electronic voting machine recorded minus 16,022 votes for Al Gore in Volusia County, Fla. While fraud was never proven, the faulty tally alerted computer scientists, politicians and everyday citizens to the very real possibility of computer hacking during elections.

Hacking Democracy trailer

In 2002, Seattle grandmother and writer Bev Harris asked officials in her county why they had acquired electronic touch screen systems for their elections. Unsatisfied with their explanation, she set out to learn about electronic voting machines on her own. In the course of her research, which unearthed hundreds of reported incidents of mishandled voting information, Harris stumbled across an “online library” of the Diebold Corporation, discovering a treasure trove of information about the inner-workings of the company’s voting system.

Harris brought this proprietary “secret” information to computer security expert Dr. Avi Rubin of Johns Hopkins University, who determined that the software lacked the necessary security features to prevent tampering. Her subsequent investigation took her from the trash cans of Texas to the secretary of state of California and finally to Florida, where a “mini-election” to test the vulnerability of the memory cards used in electronic voting produced alarming results.

With US presidential “elections” only months away, it’s a solid watch with some weighty content.

h/t to my Mom whom I’m beginning to suspect is a closet American.

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