Internet voting starts for US citizens

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Internet voting starts for US citizens

The first internet votes in U.S. history will be cast on Friday in an experiment to judge the effectiveness of the system.

Soldiers in Mildenhall in England, Ramstein in Germany and Kadena in Japan will have a chance to cast their ballots online in a test conducted as part of the Okaloosa Distance Balloting Pilot (ODBP) in Florida.

"The ODBP project will establish a secure and scalable distance balloting environment for approximately 600 self-selecting overseas voters," said ODBP organisers.

"This environment will be created by placing supervised absentee voting kiosks in three overseas locations each staffed by election officials.

"The kiosk voting stations will employ proven, transparent and secure electronic remote voting technology and will be operated under the management and control of the Supervisor of Elections."

The test has posed unique problems for the companies taking part. Laptops used to cast the ballots have had their hard drives removed to lessen the chance of virus infection, and the voting software is loaded directly from a CD.

Users will also have to print out a paper version of the ballot paper so that the final results can be checked.

However, the move is being questioned by many in Florida. "Taxpayers are still reeling from the costly mistake of allowing DRE [direct recording electronic] touch-screen voting before that technology was secure," said Dan McCrea, president of the Florida Voters Coalition.

"We must not repeat that mistake by allowing cyber-space voting when the technology is not secure. Less expensive, more secure, solutions may exist for overseas voting."

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