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Security seals on voting machines: a case study ANDREW W. APPEL, Princeton University
 

Summary: Security seals on voting machines: a case study
ANDREW W. APPEL, Princeton University
Tamper-evident seals are used by many states' election officials on voting machines and ballot boxes,
either to protect the computer and software from fraudulent modification or to protect paper ballots from
fraudulent substitution or stuffing. Physical tamper-indicating seals can usually be easily defeated, given
they way they are typically made and used; and the effectiveness of seals depends on the protocol for their
application and inspection. The legitimacy of our elections may therefore depend on whe ther a particular
state's use of seals is effective to prevent, deter, or detect election fraud. This paper is a case study of the
use of seals on voting machines by the State of New J ersey. I conclude that New J ersey's protocols for the
use of tamper-evident seals have been not at all effective. I conclude with a discussion of the more general
problem of seals in democratic elections.
Categories and Subject Descriptors: K.6.5 [Computing Milieux]: Security and Protection
General Terms: Security
ACM Reference Format:
[Accepted for publication, ACM Transactions on Inform ation and S ystem S ecurity (TIS S EC), 2011]
1. SEALS AND PROTOCOLS
Tamper-evident seals are widely used in elections, applied to ballot boxes, voting
machine components, bags for transmittal of election results, and so on. What is the
intended purpose of these seals, and are they effective in achieving that purpose?
Generally speaking, a seal is a device that is not difficult to remove, but is

  

Source: Appel, Andrew W. - Department of Computer Science, Princeton University

 

Collections: Computer Technologies and Information Sciences