Last week, the D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics opened a new Internet-based voting system for a weeklong test period, inviting computer experts from all corners to prod its vulnerabilities in the spirit of "give it your best shot." Well, the hackers gave it their best shot -- and midday Friday, the trial period was suspended, with the board citing "usability issues brought to our attention."
Here's one of those issues: After casting a vote, according to test observers, the Web site played "Hail to the Victors" -- the University of Michigan fight song.
"The integrity of the system had been violated," said Paul Stenbjorn, the board's chief technology officer.
Like most, I'm generally opposed to hacking--but since the DC Board of Elections actually invited outside attempts to infiltrate their fledgling system, a virtual tip of the hat is in order. Online voting would be extraordinarily convenient, but I fear it's far too susceptible to abuse and manipulation, and this misadventure confirms those concerns.