This is an ad for California Secretary of State candidate Debra Bowen
(click to enlarge)
Ars Technica is an online magazine for techies. They’re covering the voting machines fiasco.
How to steal an election by hacking the vote,
What if I told you that it would take only one person—one highly motivated, but only moderately skilled bad apple, with either authorized or unauthorized access to the right company’s internal computer network—to steal a statewide election?
[. . .] Thanks the recent and rapid adoption of direct-recording electronic (DRE) voting machines in states and counties across America, the two scenarios that I just outlined have now become siblings (perhaps even fraternal twins) in the same large, unhappy family of information security (infosec) challenges. Our national election infrastructure is now largely an information technology infrastructure, so the problem of keeping our elections free of vote fraud is now an information security problem. If you’ve been keeping track of the news in the past few years, with its weekly litany of high-profile breeches in public- and private-sector networks, then you know how well we’re (not) doing on the infosec front.
The article goes into technical detail on how to accomplish the theft of an election. But then,
A great new video over at The People Choose 2006 —
Can a Chimpanzee Hack A voting Machine? Baxter Did
Prediction: If Republicans lose the House, they are going to accuse Democrats of hacking the voting machines.
The new Rolling Stone article, Will The Next Election Be Hacked? by Robert F. Kennedy Jr. in cludes an on the record claim by a former Diebold employee that they changed the software in the machines the night before Georgia’s 2002 primary election. This, or other altered software could still be there for the November election. Of course, the point is, with these machines there is no way to prove that the reported vote counts reflect how the voters voted.
From the article,
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.
Touch-screen polling machines, which will be used statewide in Maryland when voters go to the polls for the Sept. 12 primary, were intended to calm fears of election flimflam raised in the wake of the infamous 2000 presidential balloting in Florida.
But the new machines themselves have become a politically charged topic in Maryland. Republican Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr., who agreed to purchase them three years ago, now questions whether they can provide fair and accurate elections, given their vulnerability to computer hackers and their lack of a paper trail to document votes.
[. . .] The Brennan report notes that systems without paper trails — a paper record or receipt that voters can use to confirm votes — lack an important countermeasure to software attacks: the ability to compare paper to electronic records.
They can talk all the want to about “securing” the machines, etc. But here is the problem. NO MATTER WHAT THEY DO, as long as there is no “paper trail” – a physical record of each vote that is CHECKED BY THE VOTER, then there is NO WAY TO KNOW if the machines were hacked or not. With no paper trail THERE IS NO REASON TO TRUST THE RESULTS of the election because no one can PROVE that the results are accurate.
Period, end of story.
In recent months, however, grass-roots groups like MoveOn.org and Common Cause have made paper ballots a top-tier priority, raising the specter of hackers and corrupt officials stealing elections at will. Last week in a speech in California, Democratic Party leader Howard Dean joined the chorus by declaring, “I am tired of electronic voting machines we can’t trust.”
USATODAY.com – Electronic voting machines come under legal attack from activists
The article focuses on reliability, without mentioning paper trails at all. As if making the machines “reliable” reduces the need to be able to prove how people voted.
Voting machine must have a way to VERIFY that the machines are reporting what the voters wanted.
Another reason to fix the voting machine problems – it gives Republicans an excuse to claim election fraud if they DO lose.
The BRAD BLOG : CLAIM: GOP Likely to Charge E-Vote Fraud This November; DNC Advised to Wake Up! Quickly!
Oh, you think Republicans wouldn’t do that? Brad points out,
The GOP doesn’t have the same fear gene that curses Dems when it comes to standing up and fighting when they feel they’ve been robbed (or, perhaps more appropriately with the GOP, opportunistically announcing they’ve been robbed even when they haven’t been.)