The Oct. 26 issue featured an interview with Professor Andrew Appel ’81, “Election Hacking 101,” in which Dr. Appel pronounced “paperless touch-screen voting machines” hackable and insecure.
My career has intersected with Dr. Appel’s. We both graduated from Princeton. Professor Appel was a graduate student at Carnegie Mellon while I was a computer science faculty member there, and we were opposing experts in the case of Gusciora v. Christie, brought in N.J. Superior Court in Mercer County to enjoin the use of touch-screen machines in New Jersey. After a bench trial extending over five months, during which Dr. Appel demonstrated his hack to the court, the judge found that the voting machines were not insecure. This decision was upheld by the Appellate Division Sept. 16, 2013, and the case ended.
To be clear, there are no “paperless” touch-screen machines used in New Jersey or anywhere else in the United States. All electronic voting machines are required by law to have the capability of making a “permanent physical record of each vote cast.” They do this by recording votes on a paper roll internal to the voting machine, which permits subsequent audit and recount.