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Is There Hope?

For e-voting to happen, the next generation of personal computers that are widely adopted must have hardware support to enable a trusted path between the user and the election server. There must be no way for malicious code to be able to interfere with the normal operation of applications. Efforts such as the Trusted Computing Platform Alliance (TCPA) must be endorsed. The challenge is great because, to enable secure remote electronic voting, the vast majority of computer systems need to have the kind of high assurance aspired to by the TCPA.

One reason that remote electronic voting presents such a security challenge is that any successful attack would be very high-profile, a factor that motivates much of the hacking activity to date. Even scarier is that the most serious attacks would come from someone motivated by the ability to change the outcome without anyone noticing. The adversaries to an election system are not teenagers in garages but foreign governments and powerful interests at home and abroad. Never before have the stakes been so high.

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