Asking a good question is the key to getting a good answer. We can’t know the answer if we ask the wrong question.
I will take some liberties and try to provide an answer that is useful. If I am not clear, please forgive me and ask again.
Answering: Can an electronic voting machine be modified to produce an inaccurate result? (Fair enough?)
This question deserves two answers.
Hackers generally win if they have complete control over the hardware. It’s over. Hacker 1, Voter 0. An experienced hardware engineer can alter the “laws” of physics that the software relies on (such as replacing memory contents or freezing the clock).
The hacker can control the software even though it is open source and subject to expert inspection. He wins. Ken Thompson’s Reflections On Trusting Trust
This article explains in layman’s terms.
Although it can offer some protection, connecting the system to a network (which Microsoft uses to protect the Xbox, for instance) can also expose vulnerabilities.
Researchers have a lot of examples online that show hacks against voting machines.
Computers are generally designed to modify their behavior. Voting machines are no exception.
There is another layer to this question.
Technology is the combination and application of knowledge, tools, and processes. A voting machine is just a tool. Hackers face the challenge of hacking voting technology if they are able to use that tool in a way that is guided by knowledge, process, and process.
Any software/hardware combination that fails to produce a valid ballot for the voter cannot be counted if the vote-casting process (in the use of a hacker voting machine) requires that a voter-verified, paper ballot is produced. It’s over. Voter 1, Hacker 0.
According to my understanding, there are still areas where voting machines can be trusted to interpret voter intent and maintain valid counts. These voting systems are vulnerable, and special precautions are necessary.
Voters should demand that this technology is replaced and scrutinize any elected official who refuses to upgrade.