University of Michigan students hacked a prototype voting web site and programmed it to play their fight song, prompting election officials to take the site down temporarily, reports the Associated Press. For the past week, the D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics has encouraged outsiders to try to find faults in the system, which was designed to allow some 950 military and overseas voters to cast ballots online. The system had not yet been put into effect, but officials had hoped to use it for the November election. A scaled-back version of the site was relaunched Oct. 5. The students had rigged the site to play the Michigan fight song “The Victors” after a ballot was submitted on a “Thank You” page. Paul Stenbjorn, the board’s director of information services, said he didn’t bother listening—but the hack was exactly why officials asked for help testing the system. “This is why we did this. This was one of the objectives,” Stenbjorn said. Officials discovered the hack on Sept. 29 and pulled down the site Oct. 1. It went back up after the vulnerability was fixed. The relaunched site will allow voters to download ballots, but not cast them online as originally planned. Instead, they’ll have to mail, fax, or eMail them in. The system is still an improvement over past years, when overseas voters were sent their ballots by mail. Stenbjorn said he hopes to restore the ballot-casting feature in 2011…

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Denny Carter

Dennis has covered higher education technology since April 2008, having interviewed some of the most recognized IT pros in U.S. colleges and universities. He is always updating eCampus News with the latest in pressing ed-tech issues, such as the growing i

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