Web video says voting machines vulnerable

You paid millions for new voting machines to make elections better.  Now, a new study shows those machines may be "child's play" for hackers and criminals.

This is what six million dollars buys:  1,500 of the newest Diebold voting machines.
But Shelby County leaders didn't know about this new study.

"Our study shows that a criminal who can inject malicious software into this voting machine can control how the votes are tallied," says the voice of the researcher narrating an online video from Princeton University.

The video represents a Princeton research project and the people who made it say it shows how easy it is to hack into Diebold voting machines.

It's getting a lot of attention around the country.

"His malicious software can steal votes and it can cover its tracks so that the theft cannot be detected," explains the researcher.

"People are not going to have that unfettered access to these machines," says Shelby County Election Commissioner Rich Holden.  "It's not going to occur.  It's not going to occur in Shelby County because you're not going to have that kind of access."

The video claims that all a hacker needs is one minute in front of the machine.

It may be true - admits Holden - but it won't happen in Shelby County because - he says - there's too much oversight.

Most importantly, he says, the hacker can't infect the system because the machines are not connected to each other.  "If they're all connected together on a network, they're more vulnerable to pass it from one to another.  If they're all connected to the internet, they're even more vulnerable.  What we deal with is 1,500 individual stand alone voting machines."

Which makes it impossible - he says - to infect multiple machines at once.

Holden pointed out too that the machines used here - now - are slightly newer than the versions used in the study.  He is confident there are simply too many checks in place that would identify missing votes.  Plus, he says you'd have to be crazy - in this climate - to hack an election in Shelby County.