Happy Halloween: Scary Election Stories

| Tue Oct. 31, 2006 4:24 PM EST

One week until the election and things are getting scary. Yesterday, the New York Times had a full-page ad featuring a creepy vampire peering over the shoulder of an unsuspecting woman at the voting booth. Maybe the creepiest part was that the poor woman looked like an innocent, naïve and vulnerable librarian-type.

The ad was warning voters to watch out for election fraud, report anything suspicious and not accept provisional ballots. But are voters really too naïve? How easy is it to actually rig an election? Well, one website lays it all out in a detailed list titled "How to: Do Election Fraud, Steal Elections or Fix a Vote." The document was posted on a site about database administration created by computer tech expert named Steven Hauser. It is a work in progress that makes some disturbing statements:

"A simple PC and a database program or spread sheet is enough technology to sort targets by vulnerability or effectiveness for attack. Public available data files such as public voting records from the Secretary of State, (about $45 for the data set from the State of Minnesota) and the US Census are enough data to fine tune a set of targets figure out vulnerabilities and organize subsets of targets by method of attack."

What method of attack, you ask? Well, they range from "Inserting Security Problems with Voting Rule Manipulation" (essentially consisting of challenging voters' identities and records), to the more traditional method of gerrymandering.

If you want something that will give you a good scare tonight, pause that Scream 3 DVD and check out this scary how to list.

--Caroline Dobuzinskis

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