Date: 12/02/2008

Testimony of Dr. Dan Wallach


Votes: View--> Action Taken:

The commission was called to order. A quorum was present.

09:08 AM -- Testimony of Dr. Dan Wallach

Dr. Dan Wallach, Associate Professor of Computer Science, Rice University, introduced himself and provided his background in the area of elections and voting security. Commission members received copies of testimony that Dr. Wallach delivered to the Texas Committee on State Affairs (Attachment A), which Dr. Wallach used as a basis for his testimony before the commission. Dr. Wallach discussed the contents of this testimony, which includes examples of electronic voting machine failures. Dr. Wallach responded to a question regarding the types of machines used in the counties where these failures occurred. Dr. Wallach continued with his testimony, discussing human error and security attacks that may result in electronic voting machine failure.

09:20 AM

Dr. Wallach continued his testimony, describing electronic voting machine vendor responses to machine failures, and how machine security can be attacked. Dr. Wallach also discussed the position of electronic voting machine vendors regarding allowing outside parties to address potential flaws in the machines and machine software. Dr. Wallach then discussed methods for certifying electronic voting machines, and certain methods that can be employed to limit electronic voting machine failures.

09:32 AM

Dr. Wallach continued his testimony, focusing on ways to improving the use of electronic voting machines. Professor Wallach fielded questions, starting with a question regarding studies dealing with electronic voting machine tampering, and a question regarding the types of voting hardware that are vulnerable to tampering. Dr. Wallach next responded to questions regarding how electronic voting machine hardware is infected, and problems with allowing straight-ticket votes using electronic machines. Discussion ensued regarding proprietary and copyright issues surrounding vendor voting machine software, and the types of software used in electronic voting machines.

09:44 AM

Discussion ensued regarding safe electronic voting technologies currently available, and the future of electronic voting machine use. Dr. Wallach responded to questions regarding software currently available that monitors hardware to ensure the software being employed in the hardware is the authentic and proper software. Dr. Wallach responded to further questions regarding how electronic voting machines that have been tampered with may react when used by a voter, and recorded instances where electronic voting machine software has been attacked. Discussion followed regarding the effectiveness of current and future electronic voting machine standards.

09:55 AM

The committee discussed with Dr. Wallach the processes by which voting machine technologies might be compromised prior to use, resulting in a county-wide voting system failure. Discussion followed regarding the end-to-end verification process using encryption technology. Dr. Wallach responded to questions regarding comparative security across the various types of voting systems, both electronic and manual.

10:07 AM

Dr. Wallach responded to questions regarding how electronic voting machines can be attacked to sway an election without drawing public attention.