Letters To The Editor


September 26, 2006

Security problems plague e-voting

In all the news about problems in Maryland's recent primary, the most disturbing possibility has not been much discussed in the media ("Ehrlich would end electronic voting," Sept. 21).

A recent study by computer scientists at Princeton University has demonstrated that the Diebold touch-screen voting systems used by a number of states, including Maryland, are susceptible to vote stealing.

This is easily done by loading malicious software via the machines' removable memory cards.

It only takes a few seconds to infect a machine. A single person with a minute of unsupervised access to the machine or the memory card can do this.

The software can flip votes to an opposing candidate in an actual election, with no indication to the voter, yet can produce correct results when the machine is tested.

The software can copy itself to other machines through the memory cards. The software can delete itself after the election, leaving no trace. Without a paper trail, the altered votes can never be recovered.

This is not the first study to point out serious vulnerabilities of e-voting.

Electronic voting is not ready for prime time. With all their problems, paper ballots are still preferable.

At the very least, machines should provide a paper trail for each vote.

William S. Brown


The writer is a software developer.

Where was reaction from Zeese's camp?

The article about Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele's campaign commercials in Friday's Sun, while mentioning both of Mr. Steele's campaign opponents, Rep. Benjamin L. Cardin and Kevin Zeese, nevertheless relies only on Mr. Cardin's camp for comments on the commercials by Mr. Steele's opponents ("Democrats accuse Steele of `political identity theft,'" Sept. 22).

Including comments from the Zeese camp would have made the article far more interesting, as well as more complete.

Martin S. Lefstein


The writer is a volunteer for Kevin Zeese's Senate campaign.

Betraying big bias against Steele effort

The article "Democrats accuse Steele of `political identity theft,'" (Sept. 22) reads more like a press release from Rep. Benjamin L. Cardin's campaign than a credible news story.

Rather than report the actual story, which is that Michael S. Steele is seeking and gaining the support of numerous high-profile Democrats and that his message is attracting a substantial portion of the African-American community, The Sun chose to print paragraph-long statements from Democratic Party officials and liberal professors who berated the Republican for daring to reach out to historically Democratic voters.

Brandon Payne


The writer is a former president of the College Republicans at the University of Maryland, College Park.

Torture tarnishes office of president

I have to wonder if the current fuss over changing the rules of the Geneva Conventions is because we have already broken those rules ("President backs off detainee treatment," Sept. 22).

I never would have had these thoughts before we declared war on terror, bombed a sovereign nation, held prisoners without a trial and tortured some of those prisoners.

I was taught by my parents to support and respect the office of the president, no matter what party is in office. I passed this belief on to my children.

I look at my 10 grandchildren and wonder what history will teach them.

It saddens me greatly.

Mary E. Stewart


Fresh air on razing of the Rochambeau

Thanks to columnist Jean Marbella for providing a dose of reality on the Rochambeau. Her column "Building's primary ornament: nostalgia" (Sept. 19) was a breath of fresh air amid a cloud of overblown, misplaced nostalgia.

I only wish that The Sun had published her column earlier to provide some balance in its reporting on the controversy over this long-time Charles Street blight of a building that has been a flophouse for bums, a mecca for rats and an eyesore since at least the 1970s.

There has been plenty of time for a community group or private developer to purchase the Rochambeau and make it a vibrant presence in the city. But apparently no one saw value in this building until it was threatened with demolition.

Conversely, the archdiocese put $32 million of private funds into renovating the Basilica of the Assumption, a genuinely historic, culturally and architecturally significant and beautiful building.

In addition, it is pouring more funds into promoting the basilica - and Baltimore - as a tourist destination.

Will anyone in Baltimore, especially the preservationist extremists, turn down the revenue that basilica visitors will generate for the city?

It seems to me that the archdiocese deserves some appreciation for its efforts.

While I wholeheartedly support preservation of truly significant properties, I believe the wrecker's ball was the right fate for the Rochambeau.

Deborah Ponder


Other cities do more to respect the past

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