FRAMINGHAM (01/26/2004) - Four computer experts are urging the government to drop plans to let U.S. civilians who reside overseas cast their votes online. The risks associated with online voting can't be eliminated because the Internet and PCs are inherently unsecure, say the researchers, who were asked by the government to analyze an online voting system called the Secure Electronic Registration and Voting Experiment (SERVE). The system is vulnerable to the same cyberattacks that threaten other online services, including viruses, spoofing and denial-of-service attacks. "SERVE is called an experiment, but it is in fact not an experiment," says Barbara Simons, one author of the critique. "There are not paper ballots, there is no way to verify after the fact to see if votes were correctly received and tabulated." Regardless of the opinions, the Department of Defense is moving ahead with SERVE. The system could be used for a primary election as early as next month, and certainly will be running for the November presidential election, a department spokesman says.