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Online Ballots In The Works For Active Duty Military

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Active duty service members can't cast their ballots in person, but a system for delivering them online is being explored.
Justin Grimes: http://www.flickr.com/photos/notbrucelee/5139407571/
Active duty service members can't cast their ballots in person, but a system for delivering them online is being explored.

A special cybersecurity panel of the Joint Commission on Technology and Science has voted to move forward with crafting state legislation to enable many deployed military members to cast their absentee ballots online.

As proposed, the bill would require signing and scanning of each ballot, a witness, and use of a military smart-ID card that's encrypted. Local officials would compare the ballots received with matching absentee voting applications and investigate any irregularities.

SRI International's Jeremy Epstein warned of potential problems, including viruses.

"And then when the local board of elections opens what they think is an email attachment that is a ballot, in fact, they're opening a virus and they're getting their system infectedm" Epstein says.

Supporters countered that military systems are much more secure than personal PCs and said postal mail is insecure and disenfranchised many military voters last year.

Naval Reserve Officer Bob Cary says 25 percent of personnel never even received their ballots, and the ballots of many who did arrived too late to count.

"The fact of the matter is that the current system has extensive risks," Cary says. "In fact, 170,000 military voters are unable to vote in the current system."

The League of Women Voters of Virginia urged caution until security concerns can be cleared up.

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