Matt Blaze's
Science, Security, Curiosity
California Voting Systems Review
Possibly even more important than American Idol

The California Secretary of State recently announced plans for a "top-to-bottom" review of the various electronic voting systems certified for use in that state. David Wagner of U.C. Berkeley and Matt Bishop of U.C. Davis will be organizing source code and "red team" analysis efforts for the project, and they've recruited a large group of researchers to work with them, including me. This has the potential to be one of the most comprehensive independent evaluations of election technologies ever performed, and is especially significant given California's large size and the variety of systems used there. Trustworthy voting is perhaps the most elemental of democratic functions, but, as security specialists know all too well, complex systems on the scale required to conduct a modern election are virtually impossible to secure reliably without broad and deep scrutiny. California's review is a welcome and vitally important, if small, step forward.

I'll be leading one of the source code review teams, and we'll be getting to work by the time you read this. We have a lot to do in a very short time, with the final report due to be published by late summer or early fall. Until then, I won't be able to discuss the project or the details of how we're progressing, so please don't take it personally if I don't.

For some more details, the project FAQ is available here (PDF format).

UPDATE Aug 2, 2007: Our code review reports are now available. See this blog entry for details.