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For week ended February 27, 2000 Posted 24 Feb 2001
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Summarized by Kent Larsen

Officials Hope LDS Missionaries Will Help Test 'Cyber Voting' In November
(Testing Cyber Voting) (AP) 22Feb00 D1
Associated Press
No More Paper Ballots for Some - But Is It Secure?

OGDEN, UTAH -- Officials in Weber County, Utah hope that LDS Missionaries from the county will help test absentee voting over the Internet in the November election this fall.  Weber is one of five counties around the U.S. scheduled to take part in the experiment during the November presidential election. The test will determine whether all U.S. citizens overseas will be able to vote online instead of on paper ballots as they do now.

Originally the trial was to be limited to members of the military, including those stationed at Hill Air Force Base that are out of the country on November 2nd. However, the county struggled with finding enough voters for the test. So the test has been opened to any county resident that may be out of the country on election day. County clerk Linda Lunceford says that the county hopes this will include LDS missionaries.

Officials hope that the program will reduce the number of paper absentee ballots, which sometimes take weeks to get, for the 6 million U.S. residents abroad. However, the fact that these ballots would be available in the internet raises fears that hackers could manipulate the vote. Weber State University in Ogden experienced exactly that problem when 400 votes cast in its first online student election had to be voided because they had been cast with stolen student ID numbers.

The Weber test will require Internet voters to register in person ahead of time to receive a pre-approved "electronic signature," which will allow them to vote online. Votes would be protected by so-called "strong" encryption.


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