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Maryland Electronic Voting Systems Found Vulnerable

michael posted more than 10 years ago | from the stuffing-the-ballot-box dept.

United States 417

snoitpo writes "My fine state (Maryland) has hired some people I can respect to hack into Diebold voting machines. The Washington Post (read it free for 2 weeks) has the details. From this story and the one on NPR, the state hired a company and set up a test voting precinct and had the group try whatever they could to break into the machines. Most of the attacks would probably be noticed by an even-half-awake poll staff, but some vulnerabilities were exposed. The net seems to be that you could really mess up individual machines, but the grail would be to get to the central collection servers and send a megavote to your favorite candidate. The last paragraph mentions problems that voting machines had in the last election in Virginia; it's interesting to note that those use wireless networking--my jaw has dropped onto my keyboard and I can't comment any further." Other readers sent in two stories in the Baltimore Sun (1, 2), and one in the NY Times.

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Need paper receipts (5, Insightful)

glinden (56181) | more than 10 years ago | (#8136478)

At a minimum, electronic voting machines need to print out a paper receipt. That would allow a recount and increase accountability in the system. Without a paper receipt, you may not even be able to determine that an attack has occurred.

Bruce Schneier [] , author of Beyond Fear [] and the fantastic Applied Cryptography [] , has an old but good commentary [] on the some security issues of electronic voting machines in his Crypto-gram newsletter.

Re:Need paper receipts (4, Insightful)

cgranade (702534) | more than 10 years ago | (#8136590)

Paper trails are good and wonderful, but what is a paper receipt going to do? It is trivial to print X and tabulate Y. If the receipts are not collected and stored, then nothing is gained except for giving the voter a (false) sense of security. It would be impractical, and inaccurate to collect receipts after an election.

Re:Need paper receipts (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8136684)

Gr@ndp@rent is @ known troll @nd homosexu@l. Ple@se ignore him.

Re:Need paper receipts (3, Insightful)

Asprin (545477) | more than 10 years ago | (#8136780)

Of course, you could sidestep the whole issue if you do it my way [] . I propose that no counting be done by the polling machine, but by a separate sealed tabulator. Further, I propose that the mechanism for getting the ballots tabulated be optical character recognition scanning of the printed text of the ballot -- no barcodes, no punchholes, no encryption keys. This way the tabulator has no programming and does not need to be loaded with data prior to counting.

Re:Need paper receipts (4, Insightful)

Dark Paladin (116525) | more than 10 years ago | (#8136860)

Probably the best thing to do then is print out a barcode at the top with a breakdown of voting:

President: John Adams
Vice-President: Thomas Jefferson
Treasurer: Etc

This way, the user gets a visual confirmation, and it's crystal clear who voted for whom. They put that chit into the ballet box (which is locked). Chits are stored. In the event of a question of fraud, the old ballot chits can be pulled out and verified - no "hanging chads" here. Users feel good "knowing" what they voted for, and the system can still be paperless.

I'd also want to see a 5% of all results double checked against what was reported, with random precincts checked to always keep things in line.

Re:Need paper receipts (2)

grub (11606) | more than 10 years ago | (#8136597)

At a minimum, electronic voting machines need to print out a paper receipt.

(NB: I'm in .CA) The electronic voting machines used here during our last civic election took our paper ballot, pancil-marked "X" beside our choice of candidates, and read it in. The ballot was a paper backup and any voter is welcome to stay around to watch a manual tabulation if need be. Tech has been my only job for ~20 years but I'd never trust it to decide on politicians. There is too great a chance of human error or subterfuge.

Re:Need paper receipts (1, Interesting)

HMA2000 (728266) | more than 10 years ago | (#8136600)

I can do you one better than paper receipts.

A totally paper based system.

Of course it isn't the whiz bang system that e-voting is but it's 10000 year track record says that it is ready for the mainstream :)

Re:Need paper receipts (5, Insightful)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 10 years ago | (#8136608)

But let's make this clear: The printout goes in the ballot box and gets left at the polling place... voters should not have the option of taking a receipt home. Voters should not have any way of obtaining proof they voted a certain way, because that'll lead to kickback schemes and bosses requiring their employees proving they voted a certain way.

Re:Need paper receipts (1)

glinden (56181) | more than 10 years ago | (#8136681)

Excellent point. That is the danger of printed receipts. They can be used as proof that you voted a particular way, allowing people to buy votes. Leaving the receipts at the polling place is a good solution.

Re:Need paper receipts (2, Insightful)

tekiegreg (674773) | more than 10 years ago | (#8136698)

Well you can give a receipt and make it difficult to impossible to track the voting record, figure this: 1) Joe Schmoe votes electronically
2) Voting machine spits out receipt with a MD5 hash key of his vote record, it's one way, it can never be decrypted again to determine how user voted. MD5 hash is also stored on server

Worst Case Scenario: Votes are suspected to be tampered. All voters are asked to submit their receipt. MD5 hashes are compared to what is on the server. If MD5 hash isn't the same, Joe Schmoe is asked to vote again.

This isn't 100% foolproof, but vote tampering and stuffing is tricky now, and as long as a MD5 has remains irreversible nobody will know Joe Schmoe voted. Thoughts?

Re:Need paper receipts (3, Insightful)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 10 years ago | (#8136759)

What good to the user is a receipt that proves nothing to the user, since he can't even decode his own hash. We don't let people take a stub of their paper ballot now...

Use the computer to make a human and machine readable paper ballot, walk ballot over to box, leave it there... any complexities beyond that is just asking for trouble.

Re:Need paper receipts (3, Interesting)

jmv (93421) | more than 10 years ago | (#8136702)

Voters should at least be able to what got printed. Otherwise a paper receipt is useless, since the voter says X and the machine prints Y.

Re:Need paper receipts (4, Interesting)

ChrisKnight (16039) | more than 10 years ago | (#8136851)


What the machines need is a paper roll printer, with a glass window above the print mechanism that allows the viewing of only that last line printed.

When the user casts their vote, they are instructed to verify in the window that the vote they cast is the one that was printed. If not, get an attendant.

Nobody can cach in their vote chit, and with batches of votes on individal rolls of paper it would be a lot easier to tabulate than counting paper ballots.


Re:Need paper receipts (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8136611)

American Engineering. What is it all about... is it good, or is it whack?

Re:Need paper receipts (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8136712)

Basically, it is stealing from Japan and Europe.

Re:Need paper receipts (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8136799)

Why do you morons have to post this same comment anytime there is a subject that is remotely related to electronic voting? This isn't insightful, its painfully redundant.

What bothers me (5, Interesting)

morleron (574428) | more than 10 years ago | (#8136815)

I heard the NPR story on yesterday's ATC and was struck by the reporter's failure to ask some hard questions. For instance, there was a statement by a Diebold spokesdrone to the effect that "we fix any security issues that we think could be a problem." There was no followup regarding earlier reports of a Diebold built-in backdoor to the systems "for maintainence purposes.' A back-door which, IIRC, required no password or user id to gain access to the server's databases.

Also, there was no discussion of the debate between those of us that believe that the e-voting systems should be required to use Open Source software vs. folks at Diebold and other vendors, who foist off the "trust us, we know what we're doing" line on the public. There was no real discussion of the effect that questionable e-voting results could have on the American political system. There was also no mention of the fact that Diebold's president is involved with raising money for the G.W. Bush re-election campaign and has pledged, IIRC, "to do everything I can to deliver the vote to George Bush." All in all I'm afraid that NPR really dropped the ball on this particular issue.

Just my $.02,

Looks like four more years (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8136488)

You corrupt fucker! Get the fuck out!


I'm a Republican! (A poem) (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8136493)

Oh, I'm a Republican
I got a small schling
I like to bomb niggahs
and make a lot o' bling

I got a bunch o' friends
in high up places
They helps me get dem
government graces.

You think I'm smart
I just know who's who
I couldn't run a fruit stand
without the red white & blue

I fancy myself
A brilliant tactician
But neither me nor m'buddies
Could even pass basic trainin'

See, I'm above all that
A fightin' and shootin'
I just say "Sic em!"
Then run the other direction

Don't need no history
Don't need no schoolin'
I got my ideology
To keep me a shootin'

Liberals! Faggots!
Commies and queers!
Socialist hippies
Full o' pussy tears!

I'll drop some crap
about Jesus the Christ
You'll buy it all
and vote for me twice

'Fact, Jesus is comin'!
Real soon, now!
So we gotta prop up Israel
That ol' sacred cow

Propaganda's m'friend
But I calls it "fact"
Even though I don't read
'Cept for Chick tracts

Facts? No! Don't need em here!
We're conservatives! We work on FEAR!
Don't like what we say?
Well FUCK YOU, bud!
We'll shove it down yer throat
and tell ya it's good!

Re:I'm a Republican! (A poem) (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8136522)

Mod Parent Up!!! +5 Briliant!!!


Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8136507)

With all the rampant faggotry on this web site, it feels like England.


Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8136655)

Give us Keira Knightly, you're not using her. Then you can return to your tea and games of grab-ass with the lads.

Wireless connections? (5, Funny)

Dr Caleb (121505) | more than 10 years ago | (#8136508)

I'd like to take this opportunity to coin the phrase "War Voting". :)

No overloading terms (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8136662)

Sorry, it's taken. "War voting" already means casting a vote for W.

Re:Wireless connections? (5, Funny)

thelasttemptation (703311) | more than 10 years ago | (#8136736)

You voted for bush too eh?

Told you Haliburton should have gotten contract (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8136518)

to do these machines then they could be trusted

when will they ever learn (2, Interesting)

sinucus (85222) | more than 10 years ago | (#8136527)

Just print out a freaking report of what was actually registered in the voting machines database. If it doesn't match up to what you input, get it fixed. Sheesh, how hard is that? Heat registered paper just like at the gas stations, it's almost free.

Re:when will they ever learn (1)

sinucus (85222) | more than 10 years ago | (#8136568)

man, you guys are fast. Already said exactly what I said. oh well.

No No No! (2, Informative)

Bucko (15043) | more than 10 years ago | (#8136537)

Paper receipts open the system up to vote-selling. Not good, and not allowed!

The voter might be able to see the paper (under glass), but that's about it.


Re:No No No! (4, Insightful)

rsborg (111459) | more than 10 years ago | (#8136635)

Paper receipts open the system up to vote-selling. Not good, and not allowed!

The voter might be able to see the paper (under glass), but that's about it.

Thats the WHOLE POINT of paper receipts! How useful is a machine if you can't verify it's results? The big thing with paper reciepts is that the voter then has proof for himself that *he* voted in a particular way.. he can't walk away with that proof... that proof is left for verification purposes only. How hard is that to grok?

Re:No No No! (2, Insightful)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 10 years ago | (#8136645)

What's wrong with the current system? The voter looks at the paper, and if they like it take it to the locked ballot box that's next to the exits, and if they don't they hand it to an offcial who stamps "VOID" on it and they get another blank to try again...

Re:No No No! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8136761)


teh lameless fliter si bllushti

Re:No No No! (1)

logophage (160591) | more than 10 years ago | (#8136680)

yes, but you could encrypt the vote in such a way that only during a vote recount could it be decripted by the encryption key owner (i.e. not the voter). this would ensure that you (the voter) could have a record of a vote but vote selling would be useless as there would no way to determine the vote unless you had the key.

Yes, Yes, Yes (1)

rm007 (616365) | more than 10 years ago | (#8136696)

paper = ballot , ballot is folded and goes in locked ballot box to be available if recount or audit is needed.

Paper ballots and ballot boxes are used around the world. I am sure that American voters could cope with the inconvenience of being able to check that what they inputted was what got registered. (... and therefore no danger of vote selling, or at least no printed receipt to present for payment ;-)

Re:No No No! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8136718)

Yes, of course... The receipt certainly must remain in the voting room. It could go behind glass so that the voter can see it, and then drop into a box or something. The voter could even get a carbon copy, but that copy would not be something you could just walk into some election precinct and drop in a box somewhere. The first piece of paper is to prove to the voter that the machine registered his vote correctly and to have as a security check so that random counts of the paper receipts can be done to verify the integrity of the system. The carbon copy would be a nice feature, but not really that necessary.

17,000 double-punches in Florida-2000 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8136742)

Receipts are vital!!!

A polling district with roughly 300,000 people had over 17,000 ballots disqualified, due to alleged double punching by the voters.

The percentage is way over the top... Independent researchers went door to door, and could find only 7 people who said they may have double punched.

why not use retinal scanners at each location? (2, Insightful)

Em Emalb (452530) | more than 10 years ago | (#8136548)

Screw wireless (wtf are they thinking) voting.

If you want accountability, put in some form of VERY hard to break security and go with it.

Voter apathy is going to occur whether people can vote online or not.

This is a rehash of all the other Diebold crap down in Fla. Until it's secure, imo this is non-news.
Is it because it's in a different state? Or because it's an attempt at accountability?

Re:why not use retinal scanners at each location? (2, Insightful)

cgranade (702534) | more than 10 years ago | (#8136657)

The problem is much less whether or not the terminal is secure, but rather, the problem is if you can trust the machine to accurately record your vote. Install retinal scanners all you want, and you'll be pretty sure that only those allowed to vote will. However, you'll have done nothing to assure that their votes are accurately represented.

You know what? (-1, Flamebait)

bad enema (745446) | more than 10 years ago | (#8136555)

All this talk about vulnerable machines will be all for not. Voting policies all over US have security systems like giant sieves - all this article will do is remind us that yes, Bush did steal the election fair and square and yes, he will do it again.

just one poll booth? (1)

tsunamifirestorm (729508) | more than 10 years ago | (#8136558)

if one could mess up one poll booth really easily what is the point of voting? hoping that your booth wasn't the unlucky one?

duh (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8136564)

this just in, government stuff sucks. news at eleven.

can we demand (1, Funny)

WormholeFiend (674934) | more than 10 years ago | (#8136571)

can we demand a vote recount BEFORE the election then?

Trying to invent solutions to non-problems... (5, Insightful)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 10 years ago | (#8136573)

Electronic counting is okay, but they need to be counting physical ballots, not bits. There needs to be a physical paper trail that leads back to clearly-marked ballots that indicate what the voters intended.

The phone-in system is also a bit nonsensical. Ideally, the local counts should be published in each locality as quickly as possible, so that news organizations can do the math on their own, and any error introduced at any step in the way would quickly be noticed when numbers that are supposed to be the same don't check.

Diebold seems to be in the business of selling solitions that are worse than the problems they claim to solve.

Re:Trying to invent solutions to non-problems... (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8136838)

they sell solutions to a very real problem: how can the GOP be sure that GWB is re-elected despite the popular vote.

It's not a panacea (4, Insightful)

aynrandfan (687181) | more than 10 years ago | (#8136587)

The current hassles associated with electroninc voting have stuck me as yet another exmple of well-intentioned people using a technology as a panacea, then having it blow up in their faces.

Electronic voting will not help if two candidates are neck and neck or the election becomes complicated in some other way. They also throw in a very significant variable: hackability.

Re:It's not a panacea (4, Interesting)

richg74 (650636) | more than 10 years ago | (#8136814)

Electronic voting doesn't introduce any functional capability as compared to paper ballots, except for (possibly) faster counting of the results. (Of course, if the result doesn't have to be accurate, I can write a program that will deliver the result even faster. ;-)

The other, related issue is whether or not the security model of the voting system is comprehensible to the people who are charged with running the election. I think that, in the case of paper ballots, the model can be understood by any normally-intelligent person. (You only get one ballot paper, it has to be put in the box, no one can mess with the box, etc.)

On the other hand, I would guess that there are fewer than 5 in 100 election officials (including those that select the systems) that actually grok the security model of electronic systems.

The frequently-heard claim by election officials (e.g, here in Fairfax County VA) that the election was held and "it all worked out" is scary evidence of this.

What is wrong with paper? (5, Insightful)

Srividya (746733) | more than 10 years ago | (#8136592)

Paper voting works very well here, we are very wired but we use paper to vote and if a recount must be made we recount the paper. Why so much money on computer systems? Computer systems are very hard to secure. Paper has already been secured.

Re:What is wrong with paper? (1)

ignipotentis (461249) | more than 10 years ago | (#8136733)

The general population is becomeing dumb. As a whole, they would much rather touch a location on a screen which shows who they want to vote for rather than trying to either write his name down, fill in a check box, or use a punch machine.

Re:What is wrong with paper? (1, Informative)

garcia (6573) | more than 10 years ago | (#8136790)

because Americans in general are dumb. They think that if we put pretty pictures on the screen it will be less confusing than pulling Lever A for Moron #1 and Lever B for Moron #2 (pulling any other levers just adds to the winner's total by default).

We also have a problem w/political ignorance and laziness. People would rather watch Reality TV and speculate on which dumbass the whore is going to kick off next week rather than who is going to run our country...

The laziness comes in that we have "no time" to go out and vote but we have plenty of time to sit around and watch Survivor, My Big Fat Obnoxious Fiancee, and The Bachelorette.

We need to make it easy for these people to watch TV while voting for another idiot to run our country.

Hope that clears it up for you (BTW, I am only 75% joking).

Argument for open source (4, Insightful)

Nakito (702386) | more than 10 years ago | (#8136595)

Isn't this a perfect example of the benefits of open source? Yes, you can hire a team of hackers to attack a black box, but it's just an ad hoc approach, and tomorrow or next week or next year some other hacker will find another weakness that wasn't found in the first pass. Wouldn't you end up with a much more secure system if you could openly and systematically apply those same efforts to reviewing the code inside that black box?

The Best Democracy Money Can Buy - (4, Informative)

NixLuver (693391) | more than 10 years ago | (#8136601)

Read the book - even the first chapter [] - and you'll realize that a 'recount' isn't what we thought it was in 2000. No actual counting went on. We're just asking - no, begging - for a repeat of the constitutional rape of the electorate that happened in 2000.

Tamper tape (5, Insightful)

trickofperspective (180714) | more than 10 years ago | (#8136609)

Great idea... cover the locks with tamper tape. So rather than rigging the election outright by going to the trouble and difficulty of changing the votes on the server, etc., criminals can do it by disqualifying voting machines by breaking the tape, disenfranchising thousands of voters at a time.

(Can they cover the software issues with tamper tape, too? That might be helpful.)


Re:Tamper tape (1)

Doesn't_Comment_Code (692510) | more than 10 years ago | (#8136719)

Good point!

There should be some way to identify a compromised voting machine. But it can't be something so simple as tape on the locks. The voting system should be so secure from the start that the tamper identification system never gets used. And the tamper identifcation is to ensure that no tampering was done. Throwing out all the votes from suspicious machines would be a disaster!

Re:Tamper tape (1)

PaulMaximne (746608) | more than 10 years ago | (#8136770)

That's why, if you read the report, it was recommended to put tamper tape inside the locked door as well as outside.

Re:Tamper tape (1)

trickofperspective (180714) | more than 10 years ago | (#8136850)

So they break the tape, pick the lock, break the tape. Still faster than tampering with the votes, and just as effective at disenfranchising voters. My point still stands.

Re:Tamper tape (2, Interesting)

lynx_user_abroad (323975) | more than 10 years ago | (#8136873)

Great idea... cover the locks with tamper tape. So rather than rigging the election outright by going to the trouble and difficulty of changing the votes on the server, etc., criminals can do it by disqualifying voting machines by breaking the tape, disenfranchising thousands of voters at a time.

Exactly. This points-out the difference in thinking of the hacker's mind. An election official thinks adding complexity (tamper tape) to the system would raise the bar for mischief. Now, instead of just being armed with a lock pick (and the skill+opportunity to use it effectively), the assaliant must also be equipped to tamper with tamper evident tape without getting caught.

In fact they are lowering the bar. The assaliant now needs nothing more than a fingernail to cause reasonable doubt and get all the votes from that machine thrown into question.

How long does it take to train a set of disgruntled minority (in the sense of how their district usually votes) voters to break the tamper-evident seal?

Maryland Bill (5, Informative)

pigpen_ (56028) | more than 10 years ago | (#8136621)

There is a bill before the Maryland State House that would require a voter verifiable paper trail on all electronic voting machines in the state of maryland. The bill also calls for a random sampling of the paper ballots to ensure that the electronic count has not been tampered with. House Bill 53 [] was just read into the ways and means committee two weeks ago but with the release of the reports I hope there it can gain more support and pass the house.

Why voting machines? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8136640)

I don't understand why voting machines are being introduced in the first place. Is it just the stupid perception that "if it's automated, it must be better"? In fact, by introducing machines, you're just introducing a hell of a lot more problems, and possible failure points, as well as making the whole process more opaque.

In the Canadian federal elections, IIRC, as well as the Ontario provincial elections, voting and counting is still done by hand. At every stage a paper record is created, so that if any irregularities are suspected, the whole process can be audited. I believe such an inquiry was undertaken in Quebec after some tricky vote counting in Quebec after the last referendum.

So what? (5, Funny)

thinkpol (51932) | more than 10 years ago | (#8136641)

What's going to happen? We'll elect someone who didn't get the most legitimate votes...?


Re:So what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8136802)

Hate to tell you it already happened. In 2000.

Old fashion? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8136642)

Why not just do it all in the old fashion?
It has been mentioned before, and judging from these stories it seems as if there are NO pros at all from electronic voting.

Pen, paper, and someone to count it (volunteers from the various parties) nothing else.

That and a remaking of the election system in the US case, whats up with Bush winning anyway...

Security of paper voting machines (3, Insightful)

Entropy_ajb (227170) | more than 10 years ago | (#8136643)

" Removable memory cards inside the machine can be tampered with if a lock is picked or if one of thousands of keys is stolen." - From the Article

If I could pick the lock or steal a key to the paper ballot box, I could tamper with the votes too.

Re:Security of paper voting machines (2, Insightful)

Neophytus (642863) | more than 10 years ago | (#8136820)

yes, but the boxes sit on a table with someone supervising them at all times

Re:Security of paper voting machines (1)

bludstone (103539) | more than 10 years ago | (#8136863)

..and, for the record, that person is armed, and will probably attack you violently if you tamper with the box.

and rightfully so.

No system in infallible (0)

tttonyyy (726776) | more than 10 years ago | (#8136656)'s just that older systems were less open to one weakness making a massive difference to the outcome.

Even electronic banking (trusted by the masses) isn't utterly secure - just look at all the e-mail scams purporting to be a bank asking to confirm details (social hacking, if you like).

Unfortunately there will always be those in society that wish to cheat and are willing to invest the time, money and effort to do it.

Oh Canada! (5, Insightful)

addie (470476) | more than 10 years ago | (#8136668)

My home and native land,
We use a simple paper ballot,
That all can understand.

Pine cones. (3, Funny)

bad enema (745446) | more than 10 years ago | (#8136689)

"If you want to vote for Candidate A, you throw a pine cone in this box. If you want to vote for Candidate B you throw a birch branch in this box. After a while though, the boxes get pretty heavy and weigh a couple of kilometers."

Re:Pine cones. (1)

self assembled struc (62483) | more than 10 years ago | (#8136825)

at least in america we have the decency to weigh our boxes in miles.


Hehe. (0)

bad enema (745446) | more than 10 years ago | (#8136865)

"Talking to Americans" my friend. See what happens when we make that mistake? You get laughed at.

Re:Pine cones. (1)

RobinH (124750) | more than 10 years ago | (#8136848)

If you want to vote for Candidate A, you throw a pine cone in this box. If you want to vote for Candidate B you throw a birch branch in this box. After a while though, the boxes get pretty heavy and weigh a couple of kilometers.

You should apologize to Rick Mercer for that.

Re:Oh Canada! (1)

SuiteSisterMary (123932) | more than 10 years ago | (#8136692)


Re:Oh Canada! (0, Flamebait)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 10 years ago | (#8136753)

It's inconsequential.

Mayor McCheese could run Canada, noone in the world cares. (He'd be better than Muldoon was at least).

My favorite quote (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8136673)

"You are more secure buying a book from Amazon than you are uploading your results to a Diebold server," said Wertheimer, recommending several changes to increase security.

Can't think of anything else to add to that comment.

If I may reason... (3, Insightful)

rcastro0 (241450) | more than 10 years ago | (#8136706)

I RTFA. But regardless of how poor this "AccuVote" implementation is, electronic voting can work -- and will prevail, if technophobic feelings are kept at bay. All it takes is some smarter dude to do the development.

The reasoning is simple:

ATMs exist.

Re:If I may reason... (1)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 10 years ago | (#8136854)

An ATM is simply a self-service machine that replaces the human teller for most simple transactions. Instead of the bank employee entering your account number, you give a card and a PIN. Instead of the bank employee typing in the value you're requesting, you type it in. Instead of the bank employee counting the cash, the machine does. Instead of the bank employee handing you the money and the reciept, you take it out of the slot. In the end, the same computer and physical records are created.

What these ballot-less voting systems are doing wrong is taking away a level of physical security by eliminating the paper ballot. The election scandals of 2000 weren't based on the paper ballots losing their security, it was that paper ballots were unclear as to what they meant. What we need is easier to read ballots, not electronic ones.

technophobia (1)

tuxette (731067) | more than 10 years ago | (#8136883)

When you read quotes like "You are more secure buying a book from Amazon than you are uploading your results to a Diebold server," and keep in mind that there are a lot of studies that show that people still have qualms about the security of online shopping, it's not surprising that some people develop strong, technophobic and other kinds of negative feelings towards these voting machines. Who in their right mind who is already skeptical of online shopping vote on machines that can be easily compromised?

Furthermore, it is probably the tech-savvy people who will be most reluctant to use these machines. They're the ones who know what's at stake...and why.

"Make no mistake" (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8136708)


"Make no mistake; President Bush is serious about the deficit," Snow said.

"We will continue with my pro-deficit growth agenda until such time when we have to sell Alaska back to Russia for 1 million dollars," Bush told a jubilant republican crowd.

"As the number one country in the world, the United States is most often the target of terrorist attacks. In order to win the war on terrorism, we have already moved large portions of our economy to India, and we are now proceeding with the transfer of military technology as well. But most importantly, we are fighting and winning the battle against civil rights. We will be overtaken by China and India, we will diminish!" Bush said emphatically.

He then reassured the crowd that select individuals, although very few present in the crowd, would in fact benefit very much from his policies, hence making the United States a better and safer country by further burdenning the middle class. Republican voters, often heavily endebted, support the widening gap between the own-lots and the owe-lots.

GOP Press Release Office
1 Troller Park

It's been abused (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8136716)

In the district (of columbia).

Why else do you think Marion Barry kept his office, even after being found in a hotel room with a whore and a bag of crack.

Oh wait, that might be because DC is nothing but a bunch of uneducated crack addicted niggers. (The politicians live outside the district).


So rev up your "no fair they cheated" engines now, you greasy hippies. It doesn't matter. There's no hope in hell that any of that clown collection of democraps are going to beat Bush anyways.

Bring 'em on! (1)

themaddone (180841) | more than 10 years ago | (#8136725)

From the second Baltimore article:

Western Maryland Republican Del. LeRoy E. Myers Jr. said he thinks many of the threats Wertheimer outlined are too complicated to carry out.

"If this were Halloween, you'd be scaring us all to death," Myers said. "I think we're kind of overreacting. Isn't this a much more sophisticated ... system? The answer is yes."

I'm sorry, but did Mr. Myers just issue a challenge? Didn't he just say "Bring 'em on!" to a bunch of hackers?

And Maryland elects Gary Coleman in 3... 2... 1...

Liberal Bias (1, Insightful)

fizban (58094) | more than 10 years ago | (#8136730)

Washington Post, NPR, NY Times... All so-called "liberal" media outlets, huh? Any news about this in the Washington Journal or Fox News? Doubt it, cause we all know who Diebold's friends with...

Who's looking out for you?

Re:Liberal Bias (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8136830),2933,109936,00.html

Fucking moron.

Re:Liberal Bias (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8136845)

Normally I'd agree with you that places like Fox wouldn't have this article, unfortunately:

Story from Fox []

The story is there but it is buried on the Politics page which you can get to from the front page. The link appears just over halfway down the page.

What they neglected to mention (4, Informative)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 10 years ago | (#8136744)

The NYTimes article mentioned in passing the work started Bev Harris, as described in her book [] ,and said that "Diebold stated that the code used by the researchers, which had been taken from a company Internet site and circulated online...". What actually happened is that supposedly private code, which no one should have been able to get to, was left in a wide open FTP server. And these are the guys we're supposed to trust with our elections. At this point I can't figure out whether Diebold's lack of security is due to malice or incompetance.

*gasp!* Voting machines vulnerable?!! (1)

Khan (19367) | more than 10 years ago | (#8136750)

"That's Unpossible!" --bonus Karma points for whoever can guess where that quote is from.

Re:*gasp!* Voting machines vulnerable?!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8136819)

"Me fail english? That's unpossible!"

--Bart Simpson from The Simpsons

Re:*gasp!* Voting machines vulnerable?!! (2, Informative)

RigMonkey (700122) | more than 10 years ago | (#8136856)


We'll never have a valid e-voting system until the software is treated as a critical-systems type of application. I mean, it's not like the software is doing something like figuring the interest on a loan. The developers need to treat this software as seriously as they would the software in emergency medical equipment.

And for bonus Karma, that quote is from The Simpsons:

"Me fail English??? That's unpossible!"

Another favorite by Ralphie:

"And so the doctor said I wouldn't get as many nose bleeds if I just kept my finger outta there"

Re:*gasp!* Voting machines vulnerable?!! (2, Informative)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 10 years ago | (#8136862)

Sibling post is an idiot. It was Ralph Wiggum.

August 2003 in Virginia (3, Interesting)

Bimo_Dude (178966) | more than 10 years ago | (#8136758)

There was a very similar post about this in August on Slashdot []
It seems now that Maryland is finally catching on, too.
  • It seems to me that there are a few things that could be done to ensure proper and accurate elections
  • Allow exit polling by the press again
  • Have the voting machines print paper receipts
  • Do not let convicted felons be on the board or otherwise associated with the companies that sell / manage these machines. After all, they are not even allowed to vote themselves, so why should they be allowed to control the systems that count our votes?

send it to western canada (-1, Troll)

qnxdude (520409) | more than 10 years ago | (#8136765)

we need it to override the bastards in ontario and querebec and get rid of the damm liberals

In other news: (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8136783)

There were recently a couple of good articles over at SecurityFocus:

Internet voting system for overseas Americans is vulnerable, security experts say [] - and their comments extend to a scathing debunking of *all* internet voting methods.

A slightly older, but very thorough, article by Scott Granneman entitled the Electronic Voting Debacle [] .

Oh, and I can't leave without mentioning the essential Black Box Voting [] site...

[posted as an AC as I don't want to whore the karma]

Diebold knows security like I speak Klingon (5, Interesting)

akad0nric0 (398141) | more than 10 years ago | (#8136813)

I worked for a nameless financial institution. We had a certain number of Diebold Windows XP ATM's. 100% got infected with a virus that exploited a well-known vulnerability. We demanded Diebold agree to forfeit admin control of the systems or patch them within a short window of patch release.

Their response: "We'll put firewall software on the machines."

Since the contract was already signed we had no leverage and that ended up being the solution. Nice, eh?

Other problems (3, Insightful)

Atryn (528846) | more than 10 years ago | (#8136841)

Did this consultant organization test issues relating to interference with the process as well as alteration of the results? One of the issues in FL in 2000 was whether or not certain voter groups had their ability to reach the polls "interfered with" by police, etc.

Suppose I know the tendency of a district and I would rather that districts results are lost. Examples of activity to interfere would include:
  1. Cutting Power
  2. Electromagnetic Interference (burst device wiping out memory cards)
  3. Knocking out wireless infrastructure (cell towers, radio repeaters, whatever they use)
Some folks would say that we are overreacting and that all of these criminal activities have current-day equivalents. But without a paper-trail you only need to wipe one memory card remotely to kill hundreds of votes before they are sent to the server.

Perhaps you all should read our report. (5, Insightful)

PaulMaximne (746608) | more than 10 years ago | (#8136846)

I'm one of the people who did this and you should take a look at the acutal report before you start ranting.

MyDoom says Hi (5, Insightful)

theolein (316044) | more than 10 years ago | (#8136853)

Linda H. Lamone, the administrator of the Maryland State Board of elections, said that the group had produced "a very good report," and that the state would take its recommendations seriously.

Still, she noted that tampering with voting equipment is a felony. "I'm not sure how many people would be willing to get a felony conviction and risk going to jail over an election," she said. Citing the problem of easily opened locks on the machines, she said an attempt to unlock a machine "would be very unlikely to succeed, because it would have to occur in a public place."

This woman should be fired from her job. She basically states that because some act would be a crime that no one would do it!!!

Did that stop Richard Nixon?
Did that stop whoever blew valerie Plame's cover?
Did that stop the authors of MyDoom from writing the virus?
Did that stop all the people in the US who committed crimes last year?
Did that stop Ken Lay and the fine folk at Enron?
Did that stop Halliburton from overcharging the Army?

What a fucking joke. It could have been a Microsoft security advisory for all the good it will do.

My premontion: There will be massive irregularities in the 2004 elections and guess who will win again?

Internet not ready for something as big as this... (2, Insightful)

DroopyStonx (683090) | more than 10 years ago | (#8136864)

Considering there's a vulnerability in almost anything (and just a matter of time before someone finds it), I think at *this* point in time it is a very bad idea to make something as important as VOTING something we can do online.

The last thing we need is a botched up election with later claims that the system was found vulnerable, etc..

It's handy, no doubt, but maybe we should wait a bit...

Maybe that's what we need... (1)

hrieke (126185) | more than 10 years ago | (#8136872)

Let the governments buy the machines, and then hack them so Mickey Mouse (or some other fictional character) wins the presidental election in a landslide. Prove beyond a doubt to even the dullest mind that these machines are flawed in ways that can not be easily fixed.

Why the rush? (2, Insightful)

Le Marteau (206396) | more than 10 years ago | (#8136875)

I really don't get it. Why are people so hard for getting the frickin' election results the night of the election? What is the rush? Why not do it the old fashioned way... paper ballots, counted by hand, by a team of old ladies. So we get the results a week after the fact. So what? Again, what is the big rush? I say, chill out, and do it by hand, with paper and pencil.

One more thing. Where are these people from, who authorized computerized voting. Have these people never used a computer before? Have they never lost their work due to a system problem? I can only assume that they don't give a damn about election integrity, and that is telling.

More Specific Wired Article (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8136880),1367,62109, 00 .html?tw=wn_tophead_2

On the otherhand (1)

Tarwn (458323) | more than 10 years ago | (#8136888)

Despite all the issues with online voting and such, wouldn't it be great if we could do it.

Some design notes:
1) Show ballot
2) Detect OS
3) If OS = Windows Then check browser settings
4) if settings are all default then output in font size 42, red: Are you sure you want to cast your vote for $selPresCandidate
5) email the user and ask them to open an attachment to verify their vote (from address suitably screwy)
6) if they open the attachment, put the same message up again, make it flash, and add little text at the bottom explaining the dangers of their idiocy both in voting and opening unknown attachments

Tada, now that should cover about 49 of the states that don't have consistent voting issues...

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