Today’s Voting Machines Story

At Cracking a Diebold In 4 minutes and 12 Dollars. How easy is it to hardware hack a Voting Machine?
Go see the pictures. In four minutes they had complete access to the memory card without disturbing the official seals that are supposed to certify that the machine could not have been tampered with. And remember, because these seals supposedly guarantee that the machines have not been tampered with, these machines are often allowed to go to people’s homes the night before the election or are otherwise allowed to disappear from official supervision.
This is about proving that the vote counts reflect the will of the voters. We need to require paper ballots that the voter looks at and agrees represent the voter’s intentions.

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Just HOW Close was CA-50???

In the election to replace corrupt Republican Congressman Duke Cuningham we’re TOLD that Democrat Francine Busby received 55,587 votes, and Republican Brian Bilbray received 60,319 votes. The problem is, THERE IS NO WAY TO KNOW FOR SURE because some of the machines are touch-screen voting machings WITH NO PAPER TRAIL!
THE BRAD BLOG: “Results of Close Busby/Bilbray U.S. House Special Election in Doubt!”,

The biggest concern about the race, by far, is that San Diego County uses two types of Diebold voting systems — optical-scan and touch-screen — both of which have not only proven to be disastrously unreliable in San Diego County and California in the past, but have also been demonstrated over the last six months to feature dozens of exceedingly well-documented and remarkable security vulnerabilities, making them extremely accessible to tampering.

SOME of the voting was done on machines with no paper trail.

And then, only if the number of votes cast on the touch-screen systems is smaller than the number of votes separating the two candidates after all of the optical-scan paper ballots have been counted manually. If the margin separating the two after the op-scan ballots are counted is smaller than the number of votes cast on the touch-screens, there is no way of knowing who the winner of the race truly is.

So here we have a vitally important race, AND NO WAY TO PROVE WHO WON?
The results of the election is left open to doubts based on the integrity of the Republicans — in a special election made necessary by a corrupt Republican.

Voting Machines – Missing the Point

The Washington Post writes a long article and misses the point. Debating the Bugs of High-Tech Voting,

The newer technology, such as touch-screen and optical scan systems, held the promise of making voting more secure, transparent and accessible. But as the new technology was implemented, voting rights activists raised questions about whether vendors had paid enough attention to security. Activists pushed for the use of technology that still provided a paper record.
Many of the criticisms of voting technology were originally dismissed as exaggerations promulgated by partisans displeased with election results. But the criticisms have been viewed with increasing gravity as prominent computer scientists have rallied behind them. Although it has not been shown that an election was compromised by a security flaw, several elections since 2000, including in this year’s primaries, have experienced problems with the technology that have delayed results.

The paper records are the point. Security of the machines does not matter, the code in the computers does not matter, nothing matters if the machines print a paper ballot that the voter looks at and puts into a ballot box for election officials to count. That is PROOF of how the voter voted. If you have the paper to count, there is no point in trying to rig the machines because you’ll get caught. You can still have instant election results that come from the machine. People will trust it if you can go to the paper and count it. If you can count it you can prove it. If you can’t count it, you can’t prove it.

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Today’s Voting Machines Story

I wonder how conservative bloggers would be talking about the unverifiable electronic voting machines probem if they knew that one of the companies was run by Venezuelans!

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Today’s Voting Machines Story

Voting machine companies now refuse to sell to election officials who might TEST the machines to see if they are vulnerable to vote manipulation. These officials are required by federal law to to acquire new voting machines, so the refusal to sell can ruin careers.
Election Whistle-Blower Stymied by Vendors,

A spokesman said Diebold will not sell to Sancho without assurances that he will not permit more such tests, which the company considers a reckless use of the machines.

And surprise, it is Bush (lack of) federal oversight causing trouble again,

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Today’s Voting Machines Post

TomPaine.com – Making Democracy Transparent,

Theories of widespread election fraud are highly debatable, to say the least. Some people enjoy that debate. I do not. It encourages a sense of hopelessness and consumes energy that could instead be focused on long-term changes that could give us elections we can trust.
The election fraud debate frames the problem incorrectly. The question should not be whether there is widespread election fraud. It should be: “Why should we trust the results of elections?” It’s not good enough that election results be accurate. We have to know they are accurate—and we don’t.
In a word, elections must be transparent. People must be able to assure themselves that the results are accurate through direct observation during the election and examination of evidence afterwards.
U.S. elections are far from transparent. Instead, winning candidates and election officials alike tend to put all their efforts into suppressing recounts. That attitude has led to increasing bitterness with each national election, at least since Florida 2000.
But we can conclusively win a debate about election transparency.

I agree, word the problem in a way that we can win. Elections should be transparent. We should be able to prove who won.
Go read.

Voting Machines

Missed this a few days ago: As Elections Near, Officials Challenge Balloting Security,

Four times over the past year Sancho told computer specialists to break in to his voting system. And on all four occasions they did, changing results with what the specialists described as relatively unsophisticated hacking techniques. To Sancho, the results showed the vulnerability of voting equipment manufactured by Ohio-based Diebold Election Systems, which is used by Leon County and many other jurisdictions around the country.
… Then, in a warehouse a few blocks from his office in downtown Tallahassee, Sancho and seven other people held a referendum. The question on the ballot:
“Can the votes of this Diebold system be hacked using the memory card?”
Two people marked yes on their ballots, and six no. The optical scan machine read the ballots, and the data were transmitted to a final tabulator. The result? Seven yes, one no.

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Sign The Petition! — Another Today’s Voting Machines Post

Support H.R. 550–Verified Voting is Vital!
I got there by following MyDD :: Verified Voting Now linking to Big Push to Support Congressman Holt’s H.R. 550 which links to SIGN THE PETITION TODAY! which says,

There are many politically contentious issues in election reform, but making sure votes are counted accurately is not one of them. Because of its narrow scope, its realistic goals, and its strong bi-partisan support, with 159 co-sponsors both Democrat and Republican, H.R. 550 is our best hope to restore integrity and voter confidence to our electoral process – the very foundation of a representative democracy.
We urge you to pass H.R. 550 as written immediately.

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California Voting Machines Emergency?

Apparently the Republican Secretary of State in California may be stealthily REVERSING the previous Democratic Secretary of State’s decertification of Diebold paperless voting machines! Raw Story and Brad Blog have stories about this (links below). Here’s a summary: Democratic Secretary of State Shelley had decertified Diebold machines as dangerous to democracy. (He also sought to prosecute the company for lying to state officials.) Then, after the recall and Schwarzenegger’s election Shelley was forced out of office on contrived charges, with a Republican appointed in his place. Now there is funny business going on and it looks like Diebold may be coming back. I tracked down a new document [Note – PDF] outlining requirements for voting machines, and the previous requirement that they produce paper ballot backups is NOT on the list.

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