Interesting Issues in Michigan

The AP reported small problems in the Michigan primary election related to both optical scan and DREs. I blog this mainly because I found the optical scan problem intriguing (there are no details about the nature of the DRE problems in the story, just that there were problems). The story states:

Scattered problems reported Tuesday included a scanner that was rejecting all ballots in one precinct in Oakland County’s West Bloomfield Township. Township Clerk Sharon Law said she sent out an employee, who quickly resolved the problem.

This brings up an interesting issue that comes up often in debates about Internet voting but not in debates about polling place voting, which is a denial of service attack. Mike and I noted in our book Point, Click, and Vote that the attacks that are brought up as criticisms of Internet voting can be perpetrated in non-Internet settings, and this is a case in point. If you can take down a scanner–or a paperless DRE, jam a printer on a DRE with a VVPAT–you can create your own precinct-based denial of service attack. Granted it is more localized, but if well targeted, could cause havoc for one party or another in an election, especially a small local race.