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E-Voting Cos. Reveal Software to Feds

The nation's largest voting machine companies are submitting millions of lines of code to the National Software Reference Library to address sharp criticism from computer scientists about the secret software used in elections.

But executives at the voting machine makers said Tuesday they would not submit their most valuable data — their proprietary source code. And they might not provide the library with copies of software patches, updates and upgrades.

Computer scientists said the conciliatory gesture wouldn't help ensure the integrity of next week's presidential election, when as many as 29 million Americans will cast electronic ballots. Some researchers worry that hackers, software bugs, ill-trained poll workers or power outages could intentionally or accidentally erase or alter voting data.

"This is a step in the right direction," said Doug Jones, associate professor at the University of Iowa's computer science department. "I just wish these steps had been taken earlier. I say hooray, but it's a long-term benefit with some pretty glaring caveats."

Executives from the largest equipment makers in the United States — Election Systems & Software, Sequoia Voting Systems, Diebold Election Systems and Hart InterCivic — announced Tuesday that they had already submitted many versions of the software that will be used to tally votes next week. The library, run by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, also holds proprietary code from Microsoft Corp., Oracle Corp. and other technology giants.

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News source: Associated Press

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