December 11, 2011
The Charleston Gazette
By Phil Kabler
CHARLESTON, W.Va. • • •
Secretary of State Natalie Tennant isn't one to get bullied very often, but does admit she felt set up at a recent conference on Internet voting in New Britain, Conn.
Tennant was invited to the symposium to discuss West Virginia's pilot project to allow members of the military and others living overseas to vote in statewide elections via the Internet. She noted that 2010 tests of the system had worked flawlessly, and were well received by the participants.
After her presentation, two other panelists, MIT professor Ron Rivest and University of Michigan professor Alex Halderman, teamed up against her, blasting Internet voting, contending it is impossible to design a secure, hacker-free online voting system.
Rivest, according to news accounts, called Internet voting an oxymoron, like "safe cigarette."
Political scientist William Kelleher, who has an Internet blog "Internet Voting for All," titled his account of the exchange, "Cyber Bullying in Connecticut."
Not being a computer expert, Tennant said she could defend online voting from a policy standpoint, but not on the technical issues.
Tennant said, at first, she assumed that the panel was balanced, and that there would be computer experts who could offer a positive perspective on online security, but said she quickly realized the panel was stacked against her.
Nonetheless, Tennant stands by her position that states should continue to pursue online voting as a way to assure that residents serving on active military duty overseas don't end up being disenfranchised.
Reach Phil Kabler at firstname.lastname@example.org or 304-348-1220.
William J. Kelleher, Ph.D.
Political Scientist, author, speaker,
CEO for The Internet Voting Research and Education Fund, a CA Nonprofit Foundation
Author of Internet Voting Now!
Kindle edition: http://tinyurl.com/IntV-Now
In paper: http://tinyurl.com/IVNow2011