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Diebold Insider Comments on Voting System Flaw

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 9 years ago | from the how-many-chances-will-they-get dept.

Security 466

Call Me Black Cloud writes "A Diebold insider is blowing the whistle on the company's continued lack of concern about security holes in its voting software. The insider wrote to Brad Friedman, a somewhat shrill political blogger, claiming the company is instructing technicians to keep quiet about the security flaws. This is despite the vulnerability being listed on the US-CERT website for the last year. A Diebold company rep admits the software can be remotely accessed via modem, but states, "it's up to a jurisdiction whether they wish to use it or not...I don't know of any jurisdiction that does that." The insider disputes that, claiming several counties in Maryland made use of the feature in 2004." This in addition to the fact that Blackboxvoting already hacked the system using a chimp last year.

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Two words (-1, Troll)

daniil (775990) | more than 9 years ago | (#13598312)

So what?

Re:Two words (2, Funny)

dancpsu (822623) | more than 9 years ago | (#13598328)

Many Democrat Slashdotters are just hoping for a different version of "selected not elected" for the '04 election.

00' - selected by SCotUS
04' - selected by Diebold

Re:Two words (3, Informative)

daniil (775990) | more than 9 years ago | (#13598487)

Many Democrat Slashdotters are just hoping for a different version of "selected not elected" for the '04 election.

Unfortunately, their chances of getting their candidate selected retroactively are quite low. So far, all the evidence seems to point that Bush was, indeed, elected for the second term (suck it up!). As far as I know (I must admit that my knowledge is based on what I've read from the press), there's no real evidence of any vote fraud. Even this 'insider' has no evidence of actual fraud.

Re:Two words (0, Troll)

CDMA_Demo (841347) | more than 9 years ago | (#13598346)


From the article: In phone interviews, DIEB-THROAT confirmed that the matters were well known within the company, but that a "culture of fear" had been developed to assure that employees, including technicians, vendors and programmers kept those issues to themselves.

Has anything changed since 2000? I don't think so! Who thinks USA has anything to do with democracy?

Re:Two words (3, Insightful)

daniil (775990) | more than 9 years ago | (#13598413)

Who thinks USA has anything to do with democracy?

*raises hand* I do. In a non-democratic state, you couldn't even make such accusations without having to fear imprisonment or death.

Re:Two words (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13598492)

not necessarily. the way that a government is elected does not have to have a direct relationship with how its laws are enforced, or what they are.

Re:Two words (1, Insightful)

KillShill (877105) | more than 9 years ago | (#13598581)

that's one of the lessons they understood from the likes of the soviet union and nazi germany.

if you really want a tight grip, make sure no one even knows you have a tight grip in the first place.

in fascist america, there is no spoon unless the govt tells you there is.

anyone fool enough to raise their voice and tell the truth, is first ridiculed, then discredited, then meets with an untimely demise like martin luther king, john lennon. typically a small private plane is involved but sometimes it's a "crazed" fan or a "white supremist". never mind that the FBI and CIA have been caught numerous times impersonating others in order to meet their objectives.

that's what they learned... make sure the orwellian future looks like apple pie and the flag. and discredit anyone who says otherwise. and oh yeah, send other people's kids to fight for your pet wars. we're so glad we have a press and media that acts like a watchdog and not corporate and fascist cheerleeders, it might give the wrong impression to say, the deliberately uninformed/misinformed public.

and oh yeah, almost forgot. make sure you have shills patrolling the online forums. you don't want some poor citizen reading about things that show the esteemed govt and its cronies in a bad light. never mind that they earned every bit of their reputations, that's just heresay.

making people disappear is too obvious. it's better to make sure people think the person is crazy or find some dirt on them or just do what the presstitutes do, make shit up.

have a good day citiz... slave.

Re:Two words (2, Insightful)

Alex P Keaton in da (882660) | more than 9 years ago | (#13598549)

Who thinks USA has anything to do with democracy?
Wow- not to be an ass- but the US isn't a Democracy. It is a representative republic.
A true Democracy in the US would be sort of scary- Imagine mob rule. Think about it.
A well Written article on Democracy v. Republic
http://www.wallbuilders.com/resources/search/detai l.php?ResourceID=4 [wallbuilders.com]
Republic v. Democracy
by David Barton
We have grown accustomed to hearing that we are a democracy; such was never the intent. The form of government entrusted to us by our Founders was a republic, not a democracy.1 Our Founders had an opportunity to establish a democracy in America and chose not to. In fact, the Founders made clear that we were not, and were never to become, a democracy:
[D]emocracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention; have ever been found incompatible with personal security, or the rights of property; and have, in general, been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths.2 James Madison
Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide.3 John Adams
A democracy is a volcano which conceals the fiery materials of its own destruction. These will produce an eruption and carry desolation in their way.4 The known propensity of a democracy is to licentiousness [excessive license] which the ambitious call, and ignorant believe to be liberty.5 Fisher Ames, Author of the House Language for the First Amendment
We have seen the tumult of democracy terminate . . . as [it has] everywhere terminated, in despotism. . . . Democracy! savage and wild. Thou who wouldst bring down the virtuous and wise to thy level of folly and guilt.6 Gouverneur Morris, Signer and Penman of the Constitution
[T]he experience of all former ages had shown that of all human governments, democracy was the most unstable, fluctuating and short-lived.7 John Quincy Adams
A simple democracy . . . is one of the greatest of evils.8 Benjamin Rush, Signer of the Declaration
In democracy . . . there are commonly tumults and disorders. . . . Therefore a pure democracy is generally a very bad government. It is often the most tyrannical government on earth.9 Noah Webster
Pure democracy cannot subsist long nor be carried far into the departments of state, it is very subject to caprice and the madness of popular rage.10 John Witherspoon, Signer of the Declaration
It may generally be remarked that the more a government resembles a pure democracy the more they abound with disorder and confusion.11 Zephaniah Swift, Author of America's First Legal Text Click link for more

Exact same words... (3, Insightful)

mindaktiviti (630001) | more than 9 years ago | (#13598351)

will be said when you start to complain that Hitler v2.0 gets elected in the US Gov't.

"So what? You voted, you had your chance. *snicker*"

Re:Exact same words... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13598483)

I suspect that the GP did just that.

It had to be said. (5, Funny)

Alaren (682568) | more than 9 years ago | (#13598316)

"This in addition to the fact that Blackboxvoting already hacked the system using a chimp last year.

So that would explain why the system elected a chimp last year...

d^_^b

Re:It had to be said. (2, Funny)

Dynedain (141758) | more than 9 years ago | (#13598367)

It's only been a year?

Oh God, we are soooo screwed.

To the Mods Who Lack Humor (4, Funny)

Alaren (682568) | more than 9 years ago | (#13598431)

I never said which politician I was referring to as somehow sub-human--just that the system elected a chimp last year.

But hey, I guess if the shoe fits...

Re:It had to be said. (4, Funny)

saskboy (600063) | more than 9 years ago | (#13598500)

You know the old computer saying:
"Garbage In / Garbage Out"

I'm not surprised that the Diebold model number of the voting machines last election were GIGO 5000s.

well DUH (0, Troll)

elucido (870205) | more than 9 years ago | (#13598517)

Of course winning is all about whoever hacks the vote. Of course winning is about cheating, voting has nothing to do with it.

Scary (5, Insightful)

mysqlrocks (783488) | more than 9 years ago | (#13598319)

The CEO of North Canton, Ohio-based Diebold, Inc., Walden O'Dell has been oft-quoted for his 2003 Republican fund-raiser promise to help "Ohio deliver its electoral votes to the president next year." O'Dell himself was a high-level contributor to the Bush/Cheney '04 campaign as well as many other Republican causes.

Is this not a conflict of interest?

Re:Scary (4, Insightful)

garcia (6573) | more than 9 years ago | (#13598372)

Is this not a conflict of interest?

No, but it's fucking shady as hell -- that's for sure. What's even worse is that they know about flaws and not only do THEY not care but both the government (duh) and the PUBLIC don't care either.

We have hashed out what needs to be done to make this a secure system [slashdot.org] and one is to allow all the code and hardware to be opened to the public that will be using it.

Of course that will never happen and I will continue to use paper ballots like every other sane American should.

Re:Scary (2, Interesting)

MindStalker (22827) | more than 9 years ago | (#13598527)

Well not everywhere in America. Some states are starting to require paper copies of e-ballots. While I heard a while back about one state that is requiring publically available source code. I can't find the state though right now.

Re:Scary (4, Interesting)

saskboy (600063) | more than 9 years ago | (#13598570)

And unless the paper is printed before your eyes, and deposited into THE ballot box in front of your eyes, then I wouldn't trust the system either. What are the scrutineering laws [observers for each party/candidate in the room with the voters and ballot box] in the United States? Are there observers overseeing the ballot takers and counters in each polling place like in Canada?

Canada's system works quite well, and it would scale to work in American consituancies quite well, since we have the same system in Toronto, as we do in Nunavut with no complaints that I'm aware of in either location.

Re:Scary (1)

garcia (6573) | more than 9 years ago | (#13598589)

Well not everywhere in America. Some states are starting to require paper copies of e-ballots. While I heard a while back about one state that is requiring publically available source code. I can't find the state though right now.

So what? One State? A couple of States? You realize that unless ALL states are federally mandated (or coerced through financial means) they will likely take the easy way out?

All it takes is a handful of states to cheat and win the Electoral College.

Re:Scary (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13598596)

Is this not a conflict of interest?

No, but it's fucking shady as hell -- that's for sure.


Exactly! It's a shame that-- wait! Did you say no?!! How is it not a conflict of interest to promise to deliver Ohio votes to the Republicans on one hand and be in charge of a system that's supposed to be fair?

I guess the same way that it's no conflict of interest to have credit card companies write bankrupcy bills or put former oil lobbiests in charge of environmental protection, make a noted UN critic the ambassador to the UN, put Dick Cheney's son-in-law (a lobbiest for Lockheed Martin) in Homeland "Security", put a former Iran-Contra figure as the National Intelligence Chief, hire a reproductive rights opponent as the head of Health and Services, have the oil industry create your energy policy, etc. etc.

Re:Scary (4, Interesting)

Alex P Keaton in da (882660) | more than 9 years ago | (#13598392)

Without starting a conversation about how everyone on Slashdot could hack into the computerized voting system undetected...
Keep this in mind. Many would say it is much easier to tamper with a paper ballot election. Ballots dissapear, ballots materialize out of nowhere etc. Burning boxes of ballots in fields is nothing new. One could postulate that tampering with computer ballots leave much more of a trail than traditional tampering.

Re:Scary (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13598488)

Don't agree with the Mods narrow political opinion? Expect an overrated. MOD PARENT UP
Slashdot is a discussion of ideas, not a political monopoly.

Re:Scary (4, Informative)

Jherek Carnelian (831679) | more than 9 years ago | (#13598533)

Many would say it is much easier to tamper with a paper ballot election. Ballots dissapear, ballots materialize out of nowhere etc.

Perhaps you are unfamiliar with the law of conservation of energy?
Physical ballots do not spontaneously materialize and disappear. Electronic ballots, on the other hand, can do just that.

Burning boxes of ballots in fields is nothing new. One could postulate that tampering with computer ballots leave much more of a trail than traditional tampering.

The difference is that if you want to burn ballots in the field, you have to physically go get the ballots, physically transport them, and physically destroy them. All of which carries some amount of risk of being caught by widely-understood, traditional methods of security.

Electronic voting systems are pure voodoo to 99.99% of the population. Remotely tampering with them, especially when the security on them is made of swiss cheese, involves much less risk of being caught and can be done on a muchc broader scale -- one person can only haul of and destroy so many physical ballots, but one professional electronic vote-rigger can conceivably modify every single ballot cast.

Re:Scary (3, Informative)

Alex P Keaton in da (882660) | more than 9 years ago | (#13598601)

Okay- I see your point. Not to be argumentative- but my friend,
The difference is that if you want to burn ballots in the field, you have to physically go get the ballots, physically transport them, and physically destroy them. All of which carries some amount of risk of being caught by widely-understood, traditional methods of security.
Vote tampering is almost an institution in the US. From the very dawn of America. I really don't want to get into giving a history lesson, but I suggest doing a google search for vote tampering and only clicking on the .edu's.
I know that your points are great in theory, but unfortunately history disproves you.

And who is going to rig an election? (2, Informative)

alexhmit01 (104757) | more than 9 years ago | (#13598631)

Jherek Carnelian writers, "The difference is that if you want to burn ballots in the field, you have to physically go get the ballots, physically transport them, and physically destroy them. All of which carries some amount of risk of being caught by widely-understood, traditional methods of security."

Most cases of election fraud aren't "rogue anarchists," its the local political machine. Generally, it is done by the police, the Sheriff's office, or someone else in the local political establishment.

Online liberalism only focuses on the national political scene, but politics is a rough sport, and generally takes place on the ground... busing people to polling stations, driving around neighborhoods to "get out the vote," and the Sheriff's office losing/finding ballots...

It's a fantasy about how democracy works from an online-only world that ignores the reality that all politics are local, and there is only one election in the US that is semi-national (the President/Vice President, because while the mechanics involve electing electors, people vote for a national candidate). All the OTHER raises from school board/city council, through state legislatures, through the Congress, are all LOCAL or at most state-wide elections.

Alex

Re:Scary (1)

twiddlingbits (707452) | more than 9 years ago | (#13598587)

yes, assuming anyone bothers to check the boxes after an election. If the election was close they might but otherwise not.

Re:Scary (1)

dgh (149553) | more than 9 years ago | (#13598568)

Apparently he had second thoughts [diebold.com] about this.

Take this for what it's worth.

It is not (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13598575)

Is this not a conflict of interest?

Why? Are you saying that he (and everyone who potential works for Diebold) have to be somehow apolitical? If he had mandated that backdoors be put in that could only be accessed by members of his own party, then that'd be one thing.

Re:Scary (1)

dabigpaybackski (772131) | more than 9 years ago | (#13598578)

Of course it's a conflict of interest. The United States is ruled by the biggest kleptocracy in the history of the world. You think they're going to leave the outcome of elections up to their marks?

Remember the quote from Stalin about elections? He said, and please forgive my inexactness, "The candidates on the ballot don't matter, what matters is who counts the votes." Even Stalin had elections.

Here's a relevant link. [lewrockwell.com] May it prove illuminating.

Ha! I knew it! (4, Funny)

Shadow Wrought (586631) | more than 9 years ago | (#13598324)

I just knew that Bush didn't receive 130% of the vote, I knew it.

To the plank with the Diebold Scaliwags! Arr!

OT: Pirate (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13598595)

Good for ye, matey! Ye remembered that today be Talk Like A Pirate Day [talklikeapirate.com] !

Arr!

Y HELO THAR (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13598327)

F Bush

Chimp (2, Interesting)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 9 years ago | (#13598332)

Blackboxvoting already hacked the system using a chimp last year.

And the voters in Ohio were made chumps.

Yes, it's been all over the news. What's discouraging is the lack of recount efforts.

Re:Chimp (4, Insightful)

It doesn't come easy (695416) | more than 9 years ago | (#13598362)

Can't. No paper trail.

Re:Chimp (2, Informative)

Adult film producer (866485) | more than 9 years ago | (#13598406)

It's even worse than that, as I understand most counties won't do recounts unless the final result between the candidates is a narrow 1% (ie. 50% 49%).. and on top of that, it's illegal in many states to do a recount if the result isn't within those narrowly defined boundries....

Why are people scared of recounting? Why is it this way ? Even if someone wins with 95% of the vote, why not have a recount to verify it????

Re:Chimp (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13598525)

It costs a lot of money for recounts, and people want to know the outcome of the election before bed, not days later. Its not news days after the election.

Re:Chimp (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13598409)

The recounts not happening correctly is not from a lack of effort. In fact, quite a bit of effort is being used by the Ohio election supervisors to keep any irregulatities under the table.

Until they are indicted.

http://www.gp.org/press/pr_2005_09_03.shtml [gp.org]

http://www.emediawire.com/releases/2005/9/emw28492 6.htm [emediawire.com]

Re:Chimp (5, Insightful)

hungrygrue (872970) | more than 9 years ago | (#13598437)

What recount? Predominately Democratic districts like those in inner city Cleveland and Columbus had too few polling places with people often forced to stand in line for six hours or more. An enormous number of people just couldn't vote at all because they didn't have the option of waiting that long. The sub/ex-urban areas had no lines at all - and are much more Republican. A recount won't do much good because the missing votes are those that never got to be cast to begin with. The media kept painting the long lines as a good sign of great participation and turnout - what it was was a breakdown of the voting system and a desaster that excluded anyone would couldn't afford to lose their job for taking six hours off to go vote or who couldn't afford to find a babysitter on such short notice to watch children too young to wait in line with their parent(s).

Re:Chimp (2, Informative)

afidel (530433) | more than 9 years ago | (#13598590)

Uh, manu Sub/Ex urban areas had significant lines, although nothing like the inner city polling places. The Republicans were out in force in Democratic polling districts challenging a large percentage of voters. This led to voting taking an average of nearly double what it had in the past. I personally had to wait over an hour to vote. My mother was almost arrested when she requested the listing of all Democrats that had voted in her precint, as is required by law. Luckily the county prosecuter happened to show up and told the officer that he was to do no such thing and that in fact he was requesting that the Republican challenger be removed from the voting place for illegal interference.

Re:Chimp (1)

goldspider (445116) | more than 9 years ago | (#13598616)

"My mother was almost arrested when she requested the listing of all Democrats that had voted in her precint, as is required by law."

Just to satisfy my curiosity, of what possible use would that information be to a voter?

Re:Chimp (1)

halltk1983 (855209) | more than 9 years ago | (#13598639)

find a babysitter on such short notice

doesn't this happen every 4 years?

War Dialing (2, Insightful)

PacketScan (797299) | more than 9 years ago | (#13598335)

Will we see a rekindling of war dialing?

Re:War Dialing... Nope (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13598478)

Too much work. If there's a good case of a site using
modems, just find out the side and what phone numbers they use.
Typically, there won't be more than a few possible numbers.
Just hit those numbers and one will work.


Well, technically its war-dialing, but much easier,
faster, and less-noisy than hitting every number out
there.

I have a question. (5, Insightful)

Sheetrock (152993) | more than 9 years ago | (#13598339)

Why are the handful of people who identify problems and try to get them solved "shrill"?

I'm not taking issue with the submitter because I hear the term applied to liberals alot -- but I wonder when the alternative of stubborn complacency and "going along to get along" became ideals in our democracy.

Because you don't get things fixed thinking like that.

Re:I have a question. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13598399)

Perhaps it's because in a Democracy the majority rules.

(Yes I'm perfectly aware that the US is a republic).

Re:I have a question. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13598509)

It's called framing.

Look at the many conservative myths. Retard growth of government? Nope. Fiscally responsible? Nope. Tough on crime? Nope. Followers of Jesus? Nope. Moral behavior? Nope.

I have literally lost count of their scandals, petty to treasonous. Even their homosexual scandals are exceeding the infamy of Jeff Gannon.

Their media representatives are hate filled, dishonest, and well compensated. Their current control of all three branches of government, media, and business is complete yet they continue to evade responsibility, accountability, and blame others for their many failures.

There is an upside. God is not on their side, nor are informed, intelligent, moral citizens. Pride is their gravity, may their fall be gentle.

Depressing (5, Insightful)

Concern (819622) | more than 9 years ago | (#13598340)

I don't know what's worse: the frighteningly bizarre concept of a voting machine with no voter-verified paper trail, or the small group of people who defend this literally indefensible practice. It fills me with a sense of dread every time I hear another round of this story hitting the news, and it hasn't involved anyone going to jail yet.

Unfortunately, as geeks know better than journalists, there is no sane, moral, or legal reason for paperless touchscreen voting machines to even exist. Almost everyone who is knowledgable in this discipline gets it pretty quickly - because it's extremely obvious, and also because paper is integral to secure systems everywhere, from secure logging on printers in machine rooms to ATMs and even slot machines... You just don't store things like votes on non-user-verified, let alone rewriteable, media.

In fact, if I recall, the state of Nevada was a little while ago in the awkward position of having vastly superior standards enforced for gambling devices than they had for voting machines... although I think now they are one of many states that has put this craziness under some scrutiny...

Yet there really are a few people out there (I've met some on slashdot for instance) who argue to defend this practice anyway. These days, ignorance and stupidity is no longer funny. It's becoming terrifying.

If we lived in a sane country, the people who made these machines would be prosecuted, since their level of negligence certainly rises to the level of criminal even if they have no intent of their own to rig elections, and all of the politicians and bureaucrats who ordered, "evaluated," "tested," and approved these systems should follow not long after. We would know all this, prima-facie, even if Diebold hadn't had a pants-down security incident and exposed their internal emails to the world, showing us their gaffes in first-person detail. We would know even if direct results of their incompetence weren't widely documented [blackboxvoting.com]

The simple, bedrock need for secure voting systems, and the absolutely impeccable engineering doctrines involving voter-verified paper, are almost universally accepted among credible experts. All explained many times before, better than I could anyway. It's inconceivable there is any debate at this point. Why would we have a voting machine that was deliberately made insecure?

The most credible argument I've ever heard (relatively speaking) is, "Who would cheat anyway? You're just being paranoid."

But you all know the answer to the question of who would cheat at election time: probably, the first person who thought they could get away with it. [blackboxvoting.com]

Re:Depressing (2, Insightful)

ArsonSmith (13997) | more than 9 years ago | (#13598411)

So, what verfiable paper trail is left by other methods of voteing?

I'll give you a hint, none. You'll never be able to go back see your vote and insure it was counted correctly if at all.

Re:Depressing (1)

ArsonSmith (13997) | more than 9 years ago | (#13598445)

sorry about the spelling, I should have read before hitting submit.

Re:Depressing (1)

Concern (819622) | more than 9 years ago | (#13598461)

You'll give me a hint?

Really?

If we voted on paper, then... the paper fairy takes all the paper away, so you'll never be able to go back and "ensure it was counted?"

Did you figure this out on your own? Or did you have help?

Re:Depressing (1)

Gabey (18874) | more than 9 years ago | (#13598469)

The mechnanical voting machines where I live do not leave a verifiable paper trail, true. However, they are open to scruitiny and it's (relatively) easy to examine how they work. They're also tested before every election with multiple people watching the little counters on the back.

Re:Depressing (2, Insightful)

Concern (819622) | more than 9 years ago | (#13598501)

They also can't be systematically rigged without visiting each of them physically.

Re:Depressing (1)

jandrese (485) | more than 9 years ago | (#13598552)

I don't know, if I were trying to subvert the system I think I'd have the machine work completely properly for the first thousand votes or so, then every so often count an one candidate as the other. Maybe 1% of the time or so. That's all you need to swing votes one way or the other. I know those election workers are supposed to test it, but given how motivated they are when I get there, I have trouble believing that they put more than a couple dozen votes in. Also, maybe this goes without saying, but someone DOES record those little counters at the end of the day and compare them to the numbers uploaded from the machine right?

That said, I don't really trust the Diebold machines either, but thus far nobody has given me any solid evidence of wrongdoing.

Re:Depressing (2, Insightful)

Concern (819622) | more than 9 years ago | (#13598600)

I'm not saying I like lever pull machines either, but... FYI, it's much easier to do that kind of hack with software than with gears. Think about how hard it would be to design a new mechanism that would do this, yet not be visible when the cover came off and the machine was inspected. Think about getting in there grinding in this modification on the voting machine without being seen. Now think about doing this for not just one voting machine, but hundreds or thousands...

This is why the lever pulls are still around in a few places...

Re:Depressing (4, Insightful)

garcia (6573) | more than 9 years ago | (#13598504)

You'll never be able to go back see your vote and insure it was counted correctly if at all.

You take your paper ballot, after you touched the screen, and put it in a box. Unless ALL vote counters from ALL parties are compromised (a definite possibility) then you have a backup way to manually count the votes.

When you JUST have a machine that's storing the votes (which are easily modifiable and untraceable) there's no way to manually count the votes that the VOTER verified were the same.

That's how.

Re:Depressing (1)

blibbler (15793) | more than 9 years ago | (#13598554)

For policy reasons, election systems in recent times have been designed to obscure who an individual voted for. It is still possible to verify a count of all of the votes however. Many elections (or at least electoral districts) are re-counted to verify the results. I believe some areas have policies to automatically recount an election if the final result is within a certain margin.
In theory, an electronic voting system should not require any recounting. The danger is someone might be able to change the results in such a way that it would be impossible to independently verify the outcome.

Re:Depressing (2)

temojen (678985) | more than 9 years ago | (#13598626)

I've been a scrutineer at the same polling table where I cast my ballot. Not only do I know that my vote was counted correctly, I know that all the votes in that box were counted correctly. And an aquaintance of mine was the scrutineer at the Elections Canada office, so he knows the totals were added correctly.

Re:Depressing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13598630)

So, what verfiable paper trail is left by other methods of voteing?

Umm, how about the ballots?

The point of the paper trail is to ensure that if there is a perceived problem with the result of the votes (for instance, drastic differences between the reported result and the exit polls), there is a verifiable method to recount the results under more scrutiny.

The ballots serve this purpose. They are still there for other workers to recount.

With a machine that keeps the results locked away in memory, there is no way to do this. You just have to trust the numbers the machine spits out. PS, it's also closed source.

Is it really that hard to ask the machine to print out a sheet of paper for each voter that can be stored separately in case a recount is required?

Re:Depressing (5, Insightful)

garcia (6573) | more than 9 years ago | (#13598440)

The most credible argument I've ever heard (relatively speaking) is, "Who would cheat anyway? You're just being paranoid."

It's very sad that this is such a commonly repeated phrase. I really want to know why people think it's *so* horrifying to be labelled "paranoid" -- especially when it comes to the state of our nation.

I realize that paranoia is looked down upon, especially in a time where everyone is more interested in the voting results of Survivor, American Idol, or (ironically) Big Brother, but it saddens me deeply when I am looked down upon for being behind our country's values.

PARANOIA IS WHAT WE NEED! Especially when people just have NO DESIRE to understand the goings on behind political power.

"Seacrest out!"

Re:Depressing (4, Insightful)

L. VeGas (580015) | more than 9 years ago | (#13598471)

In fact, if I recall, the state of Nevada was a little while ago in the awkward position of having vastly superior standards enforced for gambling devices than they had for voting machines

The quality control on gaming machines is crazy high. You know why? If there was any faintest whisper that the gaming corporations were not playing a fair game with the suckers, I mean gamblers, people would play less.

But voting? Nevada cares far more about the bottom line than it does about the politician of the week.

Re:Depressing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13598608)

I shit you not, we will never have paper trails since it is impossible to provide an alternate method for blind persons (10% of blind folks read Braile). Honestly, that is the current reasoning.

Credibility (2, Insightful)

goldspider (445116) | more than 9 years ago | (#13598341)

If this guy had anything of substance to say, he'd have written to a more credible/influential outlet than "a somewhat shrill political blogger".

Where is the outrage? (5, Insightful)

_am99_ (445916) | more than 9 years ago | (#13598345)

"In my opinion Diebold's election system is one of the greatest threats our democracy has ever known, and the only way this will be exposed is with a Congressional investigation with subpoenas of not just Diebold officials but Diebold technicians."

Yes, I'd agree with that. But good luck with a congressional investigation, they probably won't even be able to get a real room to have meeting about it. Just like Downing Street [inthesetimes.com] . Karl Rove is a genius.

What butthole did the democrats have there heads up when let this scam be part of the 2004 election? They had 4 years! How you can have a company with the contract to build paperless voting machines being run by a loyalist to the incumbant party and not have the opposition do anything about it - IS RIDICULOUS!

I hope there is an upset in 2006, or it is going to be another 2 years of a radical Whitehouse running around unchecked, digging the US into deeper holes at every turn.

But really, were is the outrage? I mean this is your democracy?!

Re:Where is the outrage? (1)

garcia (6573) | more than 9 years ago | (#13598466)

But really, were is the outrage? I mean this is your democracy?!

Oh, you're so wrong! The outrage is here [google.com] ! People are more interested in the possible voting scandals on American Idol than they are about our Nation's highest rank.

Re:Where is the outrage? (0)

Scrameustache (459504) | more than 9 years ago | (#13598508)

paperless voting machines being run by a loyalist to the incumbant party and not have the opposition do anything about it - IS RIDICULOUS!

Well, it's not like there's much more than a cosmetic difference between thse two parties anyway. Might as well flip a coin to decide which of the two Yale alumni you get as temporary king for the next four years.

There's something rotten to the core of the entire system. But, it's America: Love it or leave it.
There's no "love it and make it better", you take it as is, or you go away, you sure don't change anything. Nah-huh.

Re:Where is the outrage? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13598560)

Ain't my democracy - I don't vote!

Re:Where is the outrage? (1)

Rude Turnip (49495) | more than 9 years ago | (#13598572)

"I hope there is an upset in 2006, or it is going to be another 2 years of a radical Whitehouse"

The next presidential election is in 2008 and terms are for four years for a maximum of 2 terms. Given Shrub's approval rating (40%), I think the RNC would shit a brick if there was suddenly an election next year.

Are you sure it's an insider? (4, Insightful)

artifex2004 (766107) | more than 9 years ago | (#13598352)

There's no proof offered, yet. I only skimmed the page, because it's in a crazy-blogger color scheme, but everything I saw seemed to be stuff seen on /. within the last year. Give us something new, something groundbreaking and (newly) newsworthy.

Interesting article (-1, Offtopic)

beforewisdom (729725) | more than 9 years ago | (#13598358)

This was an interesting article.

It doesn't seem to be a face transplant as the way many people would think of it. The recipient's new face would not look like the donor's ( a cadaver ) face.

The operation is about taking skin and other tissue to use for building a face for someone who has lost one.

Re:Interesting article (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13598442)

What the fuck does that have to do with diebold you fucking ass bandit?

Re:Interesting article (4, Funny)

bersl2 (689221) | more than 9 years ago | (#13598475)

Yeah, Diebold would love a face transplant; it's a bit too late for them to save the current one.

Keeping Vulnerabilities Quiet (3, Insightful)

lukewarmfusion (726141) | more than 9 years ago | (#13598360)

I don't think it's unreasonable for employers to demand that their employees keep a security information quiet.

However, keeping it quiet because they think that will improve security rather than fixing the problem is NOT reasonable. That's why we have whistleblower protections. A company that has this much of a role in our country - by way of their products - should be held to the highest standards. And from what it sounds like, they are not.

Which Diebold exec was the roommate of which politician?

Re:Keeping Vulnerabilities Quiet (1)

mOdQuArK! (87332) | more than 9 years ago | (#13598493)

I don't think it's unreasonable for employers to demand that their employees keep a security information quiet.

When it involves matters of national security (yes, I consider being able to subvert our voting system a matter of national security), employers trying to cover up security issues should be thrown into jail.

Electronic Voting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13598373)

Voting using computers and allowing data to be accessed via the internet is just asking for trouble as it gives hackers an open ended chance to corupt the data. A computer that allows voting should not be hooked up to the internet at all. In fact, maybe votes should be counted on paper for the really important things

Kerry Won Maryland by 9% (4, Insightful)

Black-Man (198831) | more than 9 years ago | (#13598377)

So much for the conspiracy theory.

Re:Kerry Won Maryland by 9% (0)

Boing (111813) | more than 9 years ago | (#13598498)

Interesting you should say that, because the final polls before the election put Kerry's lead in Maryland at 11-12% (source [electoral-vote.com] ).

Obviously, the iconic "they" wouldn't have given Bush a 100% win in every state; they'd never have gotten away with it. Rather, subtle modifications across the board would be virtually undetectable and allegations of such could be easily deflected.

Re:Kerry Won Maryland by 9% (1)

demaria (122790) | more than 9 years ago | (#13598605)

Considering that most polls have a margin of error of around 3-4%, that sounds about right on.

Re:Kerry Won Maryland by 9% (1)

FidelCatsro (861135) | more than 9 years ago | (#13598529)

No no .. now we can have a whole new set of conspiracy theories .
EG: "Republicans tried to humiliate the democrats by making them appear to be cheats incase they won"
"Democrats were secretly trying to turn the election , but failed due to incompetence "
The list goes on and on.

It doesn't matter who won or lost , if there is a fault in the system it makes all the results (which were counted by the Diebold system) unreliable .Perhaps Bush won by a larger majority , perhaps he lost .
Whatever the real result was, it is now unknown ..
Even if it only resulted in 1000 miscounted votes , it is still a travesty

Re:Kerry Won Maryland by 9% (5, Interesting)

Daniel_Staal (609844) | more than 9 years ago | (#13598588)

If he hadn't, it would have looked odd. Maryland is one of the most Democrat states in the Union.

A good vote-rigger would only swing the votes a few percentage points. Not enough that the 'actual' votes are extremely different from the 'expected' votes. So, you don't win every race and district. You just have to win enough...

If you want to talk conspiracy theory, you could point out that the exit polls were unusually innacurate in the last election. Not quite out of possiblity, but definately out of the ordinary.

Which would be the only sign of a wide-spread, intelegent, vote-fixing scheme.

it makes sense (2, Funny)

kevin.fowler (915964) | more than 9 years ago | (#13598391)

If there were tight security, it would be too hard for dead people to vote. Wouldn't that be a shame?

Somebody please tell me (5, Insightful)

instantkarma1 (234104) | more than 9 years ago | (#13598393)

why THE FUCK Diebold can make secure ATM machines but are such blithering idiots when it comes to securing their Voting Machines?

Putting on my tin foil hat, I don't think they are idiots at all. I think it was done on purpose. The bigger question is, why aren't WE doing more about this? The integrity of our democracy is at stake. How can shit like this be allowed to happen? How can we 'help' Iraq setup their new democracy when we are so utterly fucked up?

Yes, I'm mad. Mad at this happening, mad at this not getting more attention, mad at people who think I'm crazy for bringing it up. This is unacceptable.

Re:Somebody please tell me (5, Insightful)

keesh (202812) | more than 9 years ago | (#13598432)

What makes you think Diebold can make secure ATMs?

Re:Somebody please tell me (1)

EnderWiggnz (39214) | more than 9 years ago | (#13598538)

the fact that banks use them, and trust them.

Re:Somebody please tell me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13598434)

Your name says it all. Just add water.

Re:Somebody please tell me (1)

dodongo (412749) | more than 9 years ago | (#13598482)

*props*

That's all, actually. Well-put!

Re:Somebody please tell me (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 9 years ago | (#13598536)

Who said that ATM machines are secured? First off, the machines will do nothing to stop an insider from stealing from the machines. That is up to the bank software and trust of the employees that prevent that. These voting machines do not have the trust factor designed in, hence a strong need for a paper trail.

Re:Somebody please tell me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13598567)

"why THE FUCK Diebold can make secure ATM machines"
Well... they can't... and You just spoiled my source of income...
thx. a lot...

I want my fucking piece of paper (5, Interesting)

Dark Paladin (116525) | more than 9 years ago | (#13598444)

I know, I'm asking for a lot. I was told by a coworker that it's a stupid request. After all, if I have an electronic voting system, isn't that suppose to eliminate the need for paper?

Bullshit. I'm sorry, but no - voting is not about how to do it the cheapest and most convienient for the government employees. The John Hummel Voting Ranking System goes:

1. Accuracy
2. Speed/Efficiency
3. Cost

So with that, my dream for the Ultimate Voting System goes like this.

1. Person shows up at the voting center with their ID. They are authenticated (whether this be by picture, or some sort of card reader, not important). If they can not be authenticated, then they get a physical slip of paper to vote with with the mark "Verify ID" and a number. If the ID is later verified, then the vote is counted. If not, then it can be placed in the "not counted" bin. (Not destroyed until 60 months after the election - this is to prevent too many "Whoops - we couldn't authenticate anybody"!) Granted, this ties into the problem with the "secret ballot" idea, but if you can't authenticate the user before voting, this is the next best thing. I'm sure someone could suggest a better method.

2. Assuming that authencated == true, then they are pointed to the voting machine. Voting machine is simple enough - a touch screen for "pick your candidate" with a picture, name, etc. If you're voting on a bill, then you can push a "detail" button to have a copy of it show up for your reading pleasure. Let it be handicap enabled with enlargeable text, comfortable seats (no forcing people to stand) and adjustable screens so folks sitting in wheelchairs can still access the screen.

3. Upon finishing, you are presented with a table of all of your votes and results, and a message reading "Is this correct?" If you select "No", you can change anything, otherwise "yes" means it's all good.

4. When you select "yes", three things happens. The vote is recorded to a local write once ROM device with a unique ID. This ID and voting information is transferred via an encrypted link back to some central location, so election results can be monitored in real time. The third thing that happens is a piece of paper is printed out with this unique ID and the voting information plainly printed out in the same table format you just read, perhaps with a bar code encoding the same vote results for quick tabulation later. You then drop this piece of paper into the voting box. The unique identifier is not related to the voter - just to the vote, so you can't tie in who voted for what, only that "some authenticated person" voted for something, and the unique ID is what they voted for.

5. Votes are now instantly counted. Upon finishing, all of the ROM media is removed and forwarded to a separate voting office - say, a separate division of the government - for validating. If the central office and separate office validate results, then the election is good. Just for kicks, a random sampling of the paper ballots are removed and compared (using the unique identifier) to the votes. If there's a descrepancy, you can pick it out quickly.

6. ROM and paper is stored for 5 years, then thrown out (by then, it's too late anyway), and available for public access by media groups/indepdant analysis.

7. Said above system should be written with GNU software, with MD5 and SHA1 hashes of compiled code made using standard GCC - version agreed upon by government officials at a specific date. Code is locked well before election date, and a copy of source and compiled code used is stored on the same write once ROM system (CD's should be fine) so anyone can compared and complain if they need to.

Whatever happens, no "proprietary" voting code, no "oh, it's secret to protect you dumb little voters" code - open, clear, and simple to validate and completely open to access. Anything less is asking for abuse, and I don't trust either party in the US not to have less-then-honest individuals hoping the screw things in their favor.

Of course, this is just my opinion. I could be wrong.

Re:I want my fucking piece of paper (3, Insightful)

multiplexo (27356) | more than 9 years ago | (#13598528)

I think your system is brilliant and sensible. Which of course means that we could never adopt it in America.

I know, I'm asking for a lot. I was told by a coworker that it's a stupid request. After all, if I have an electronic voting system, isn't that suppose to eliminate the need for paper?

Want to know how to shut him up? Take his printer access away and when he bitches say "Hey, that's a stupid request after all, you have a computer and weren't computers supposed to eliminate the need for paper and usher in the era of the paperless office?"

Re:I want my fucking piece of paper (3, Insightful)

TykeClone (668449) | more than 9 years ago | (#13598532)

1. Person shows up at the voting center with their ID.

This will never fly because of #1. And #1 alone would likely eliminate a whole lot of fraud.

I think that Georgia is attempting to require an ID for voting and it is being fought tooth and nail by various public interest groups (or perhaps "public interest" groups).

Lobby Consumer Reports to check this out (5, Interesting)

Safe Sex Goddess (910415) | more than 9 years ago | (#13598448)

When I think about well respected non-partisan organizations, it seems Consumer Reports would be the organization to prove or disprove this.

Let's end the debate once and for all and lobby Consumer Reports to evaluate electronic voting machines. Following is a link to their feedback form.
http://custhelp.consumerreports.org/cgi-bin/consum erreports.cfg/php/enduser/ask.php [consumerreports.org] ?

Why are we accepting this fraggin' mess??? (3, Insightful)

teutonic_leech (596265) | more than 9 years ago | (#13598510)

Okay, I've heard it all - how difficult it's supposed to be to deliver a concise vote, and that we all 'have to live with a certain amount of misvotes and irregularities'. Well, NO - WE DON'T!!! Look at banks - they process billions of transactions on a daily basis and almost NEVER get any of them wrong. Are there irregularities and mistakes sometimes? YES, but they usually figure out what went wrong and the numbers are precise at the end of the day. How often have you gone to the ATM and got a printout stating that you've got somewhere 'around 3000 bucks - give or take'? LOL!!! Seriously - I'm not saying we should privatize this essential aspect of our democracy, but if the banks can setup a system that's nearly flawless and does the same work on a daily basis that our government needs to do ONCE every 4 years, then I feel like we're all having the wool pulled over our eyes.
Damn I'm really pissed about this eternal bul...it - counting votes is so important these days and we all are acting like fuc...ing sheep...

Oh For God's Sake Already (0, Troll)

MikeyTheK (873329) | more than 9 years ago | (#13598544)

This is so unbelievably stupid I can barely stand it. 1) There is a reason why elections have monitors all over the place. 2) There is a reason why both parties are entitled to have their own independent monitors at each and every polling place to challenge votes. 3) While the paper trail (receipt for the voter and one for the backup-box) is a GREAT idea, it hardly constitues potential fraud; the "hacks" require the other protections in place to fail in order to succeed. 4) The modem is a great idea, but also can AND IS SUPPOSED TO BE managed by the local jurisdiction. 5) If I worked for ANY software company, I would expect that firm to DEMAND that I keep comments and revelations about EVERYTHING that goes on inside...INSIDE! How the heck is this any different? If Black Hat taught anybody anything, it's that companies have an expectation that their information will be kept confidential by employees and contractors who are required to sign agreements to same.
So, what is the news here? This is OLD news, and it isn't any different than news about some new hole in IE or FF, or Sendmail. The only difference is that if people are stupid then the losing party has grounds to appeal an election. Those of you that think...no wait...those of you that know that there are aliens living among us will also know that our system of laws doesn't work, and the hack will be successful. The rest of us are reasonably sure that things won't make it that far because Boards of Elections don't want the publicity, and Clerks of Elections want to keep their jobs.

Outrage? Do you folks think these through? (-1, Flamebait)

linuxrunner (225041) | more than 9 years ago | (#13598562)

Ok.. According to the logic on this board, there is this EVIL conservative corporation that purposely put a flaw in this machine... ok.. sure...

Even if it is so, you're saying that ONLY those EVIL conservatives can access these flaws for their gain, and not any type of liberal working there, probably because no liberals work there right?

The whole thing is silly...

If you don't like the machines, then use a freaking paper ballot!!!!!

We still use paper ballots in our town. You mark it.. bring it to a machine... the machine registeres where it is placed. Done.

If you can't fill out a circle, then you can't vote ok?

And who's having trouble with these machines??? Liberal towns!!! If you don't like/trust them... get rid of them. You still vote don't you?

Does it matter? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13598569)

We have only two parties that can get elected in almost any election in almost any state (the Libertarians and Greens win one or two once in a while, but very seldom).

Both candidates are given "campaign contributions" by (often foreign-owned) corporations.

The copyright "reforms" in the last 20 years were all passed by 100% of Senators and (iirc) 100% of the house.

The bankers were able to buy bankrupcy "reform" whereby a corporation can declare Chapter 7, but you can't any more.

As long as both viable candidates hold the same views on all the issues (views that have been paid for in cash), what difference does it make which candidate wins? And besides the possibility of jail or fiines, why should I obey their bought and paid for laws? Is it any wonder why so many young people these days profess themselves to be anarchists?

I, for one, would like to see some viable third, fourth, and fifth party candidates like they have in more civilized countries.

Here's a hint: why is the US the only industrialized nation without universal health care? The corporations own the government.

Were we to have a half dozen parties instead of two, perhaps fewer corporations would be able to afford to bribe all teh candidates, and maybe we would have a viable choice.

Now, here's a question: in the last Presidential election, the Libertarians were on the ballot in all fifty states. Ralph Nader was not.

So why was Nader talked up so much by the media, while the Libertarians were never mentioned? Could it be that the news outlets are all owned by the same people as the rest of the corporations?

Behind every evil corporation is a million evil shareholders. Are we going to continue to let them run our lives?

I, personally am not voting for any more Republicans or any more Democrats. I'm going to "waste" every single vote, from now on. Because the way I see it, wasting your vote is the only way to not waste it.

You know what would be cool? (3, Insightful)

CrackedButter (646746) | more than 9 years ago | (#13598584)

Is if a third party won and not legitimately either, if it was hacked in their favour. Both big parties expect to win, so it'll kick up a huge stir if neither of them did. Imagine the media attention over the winner and then the diebold system in use.
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