State decides to secure electronic voting machines

Here is an LA Times story about the California decision on electronic voting. I still find this whole issue pretty bizarre in that the secretary of state did not apply the same sort of scrutiny to paper systems, especially absentee voting. The reason she did not do that is obvious: people have been hacking paper systems for 200 years. And you can hack a paper system without any knowledge of the voting system (you dont have to be a rocket scientist, or a computer scientist) although a really good hack requires you to know something about the ballot (better for printing your own ballots and stuffing the ballot box).

Maybe they will go to all hand counted paper ballots in elections. This would be the ultimate in cool for us researchers and potential expert witnesses in lawsuits. Take LA County for instance. They have about 3 million ballots in a presidential election with about 30 races on them. That is 90 million ballot choices that have to be hand tabulated. And given the fact we know people can not count paper ballots (see this paper for statistical data on this point), the lawsuits, time before actual totals are known, etc, will be months, not days.

I would also note that Mike and I (along with Morgan Llewellyn) have done analysis of data on voter confidence where we find that absentee voters are among the LEAST confident voters. Why the concerns that these voters feel is not being investigated by policy makers is also confusing. How many hacks could you do off the top of your head to absentee voting?