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Diebold Voting Machines Vulnerable to Virus Attack 122

Posted by Zonk
from the maybe-they-should-install-macafee dept.
mcgrew writes "PC world is reporting that Diebold's super-popular voting machines are coming under even more scrutiny. A security review has revealed that they are simply 'not secure enough to guarantee a trustworthy election.' This is according to a report from the University of California Berkley, who did a two-month top-to-bottom review of all California e-voting systems. That's a subject we've discussed before, but Diebold's setup is truly unsettling. An attacker with access to a single machine could disrupt or change the outcome of an entire election using viruses. From the article: 'The report warned that a paper trail of votes cast is not sufficient to guarantee the integrity of an election using the machines. "Malicious code might be able to subtly influence close elections, and it could disrupt elections by causing widespread equipment failure on election day," it said. The source-code review went on to warn that commercial antivirus scanners do not offer adequate protection for the voting machines. "They are not designed to detect virally propagating malicious code that targets voting equipment and voting software," it said.' Oddly, my state of Illinois, long known for election fraud, has paper trails (at least in my county) and according to Black Box Voting doesn't use Diebold anywhere."
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Diebold Voting Machines Vulnerable to Virus Attack

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  • HOW F*CKING HARD is it to make a secure voting machine?!? The thing counts and keeps track of votes! I bet i could write a secure voting machine that could handle state and federal elections securely in a couple of days in any language from assembly to bash!
    • by A beautiful mind (821714) on Saturday August 04, 2007 @04:55PM (#20115733)

      HOW F*CKING HARD is it to make a secure voting machine?
      Impossible. Simply because the definition of _secure_ in a democratic voting context means that the electorate is able to verify the process of voting. Since voters at large aren't generally known to possess a computer science and electrical/computer engineering degree, access to the voting machines and the source code for them is not available and also no cryptography is in place so that the voters can verify that the machine they assessed is the same one that was in place during an election, then I have to conclude that building a voting machine that is verifiable by the owners of the machines ("The People") is not possible, thus those machines are not TRUSTWORTHY by definition.
      • I have to conclude that building a voting machine that is verifiable by the owners of the machines ("The People") is not possible, thus those machines are not TRUSTWORTHY by definition.

        How would you respond to this article then?

        The star of the international e-voting scene is arguably Australia, which is e-voting on machines that are based on Linux, using specs set by independent election officials that were posted on the Internet for one and all to vet -- an open-source approach for which U.S. activists clamor.

        "From what I have read, the U.S. systems are primitive compared [with those of] Australia," said Tom Worthington, a visiting fellow at the department of computer science at Australian National University, in Canberra, Australia, and an expert on e-voting technology, in an e-mail exchange with eWEEK.

        http://www.eweek.com/article2/0,1895,2164264,00.as p [eweek.com]

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by jmp (84073)

          I'd respond by pointing out that we don't yet have electronic voting in Australia. We use pencil and paper, and the results of an election are normally available several hours after the close of voting.

          At this year's federal election there will be a trial of e-voting for vision-impaired voters and overseas defence force personnel - for and overview see the Australian Electoral Commission [aec.gov.au] site.

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by MichaelSmith (789609)
            Local Government here in Victoria must have an electronic system. All votes are by mail.

            About 10 years ago in the City of Maroondah I received in the mail about five ballot papers addressed to names like "Jon Q Citizen, Jane C Jones", etc at my address. It looked like test data for training or testing purposes. Perhaps they forgot to delete the sample data before populating the database with a real electoral roll.

            Needless to say, I didn't open the envelopes and use them to vote.
          • Australia has about 25 million citizens (guessing so could be wrong), America is closer to 300 million so just guessing that it's a different kettle of fish when you're dealing with a country 12 times larger.
            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by HiThere (15173)
              The number of layers needed would be proportional to log2 N, where N =the number of votes

              Adding numbers within a layer is a parallelizeable problem. It can certainly be handled in a pyramid such that the height of the pyramid increases no faster than the log2 N increases with size of the count. (I.e., the number of layers needed would be proportional to log2 N, where N =the number of votes.)

              I'm dissatisfied with this explanation, but I can't think of how better to say it without drawing pictures. Note tha
    • by TheRealMindChild (743925) on Saturday August 04, 2007 @04:59PM (#20115751) Homepage Journal
      As someone who had been contracted by Diebold, the machines are running Windows, the software is written in Visual Basic, and the database is Access. And no, this isn't a troll.
      • by SolusSD (680489) on Saturday August 04, 2007 @05:03PM (#20115763) Homepage
        As someone who had been contracted by Diebold, the machines are running Windows, the software is written in Visual Basic, and the database is Access. And no, this isn't a troll.

        god help the future of democracy.

        • Correction (Score:2, Insightful)

          god help the future of democracy.

          I had to correct this because "Democracy is defined as 51 percent of the populous telling the other 49 percent what to do." - Thomas Jefferson

          That is why we have a REPUBLIC.
          It should read "god help the future of our republic."

          It was once stated that "Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what is for dinner. Liberty is a well armed lamb contesting the vote." - Benjamin Franklin
        • The follow is a list of attacks or hacks which the Diebold machines are known to be vulerable to:

          Sneezing in their vicinity,
          Looking at them cross eyed,
          Armpit farts,
          Dancing counterclockwise around them,
          Voting,
          Sarcastic comments,
          Pixie dust,
          My mother-in-law's meatloaf, and
          Bad Bob Dylan cover songs.

          Seriously, several years ago three or four different versions of the GEMS software (that's the name of the Diebold voting software) were available for download in a few places on the internet. Accessin
      • Perfect. They decide to code something that people have always tried to hack (voting) with the most insecure operating system on the planet.

        And people wonder how in the last election the exit polls somehow didn't agree with the final vote counts.

        It's not a democracy when the people don't actually get a say in the outcome of an election.
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by gomezfreak (1128013)
        I can vouch for that as someone else who works for a company contracted by Diebold. All of their machines (voting and other types) run Windows CE. And no, that is not a good thing.
      • God damn it, I was hoping to sell my vote for a couple of bucks but now, I realize that some script kiddy is going to screw me out of even that little compensation.

        Why bother even going.

        So they tally way more votes that voters... Hwo gives a fuck?

        It would take a revolution to make a noise in the media and you know Fox news would never run the story unless we were offering to give them video of Britney's bald head going down on the choef electoral officer.
      • by Z00L00K (682162)
        Troll mode on:

        Which means that it's just a prototype - not the real deal. VB & Access is only good for prototyping...

        Troll mode off:

        And anyway - if Diebold is running insecure voting machines - what about their ATM:s? Why not launch an awareness program that checks them too and let people decide if they are willing to take the risk of using their machines?

    • HOW F*CKING HARD is it to make a secure voting machine?!?

      If one makes the foolish initial decision to use an inherently untrustable device like a computer in the first place, then it comes down to one's choice of an operating system. Diebold chose Windows CE. [zazzle.com]
    • by PhrankW (1077411)
      During the last millenium, Stalin said: "It's not who casts the votes thatmatters, it's who counts the votes." Now, it's not who programs the voting machines. Ah,progress. Phrank
      • During the last millenium, Stalin said: "It's not who casts the votes thatmatters, it's who counts the votes." Now, it's not who programs the voting machines. Ah,progress.
        Yep. Now we are one step closer to the voters. A couple of decades more, and we might have democracy...
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by prxp (1023979)
      I understand your frustration, but in the world of electronic voting, everything that can be tampered with and go undetected is considered insecure. That's basically every computer system I've seen so far. Also, don't forget DoS like attacks, because not being able to vote is also a threat to democracy. In fact, we can keep adding threats and more threats. I really don't think you could simply spare two days and use bash or any language to solve the problem. But I do agree with something that is implicit
    • MisUnderestimate (Score:5, Insightful)

      by bussdriver (620565) on Saturday August 04, 2007 @06:13PM (#20116205)
      A corp that makes secure ATM machines designs and builds machines using ZERO of their ATM experience or technology which is on par with a high school student project (I saw the leaked software many years ago; that was totally under reported.)

      This is not the typical play stupid situation that sells so well in the USA. This is clear-cut intentional negligence and I shouldn't need to go into the many possible motives for anybody to pull such scams. This isn't even that other large voting machine company who elected their own OWNER!

      The difficulty is NOT making a computer COUNT or securing the totals, they distract you with the irrelevant technical details. Its in WHO YOU TRUST to implement, maintain, and secure the system that is the unsolvable difficulty (I for one, will welcome our evolved computer overlords when they take over...)

      The ultimate purpose for Rube Goldberg designs is POWER (job security and customer lock in being most common motives.) When you place the power in the hands of a few you always run into trouble. IRONICALLY, the purpose for democratic voting is totally being forgotten in this pseudo debate about how the publicly inaccessible voting system operates!

      Canada figured it out; however, I'd like to see a weighted voting system well implemented. Also, I would like to see a new kind of elector system so my friends can just give me their votes; its hard enough to get them to the polls on a WORK DAY... (yes, the pro-"democracy" USA never respected democracy enough to make election day on par with memorial day. Irony has become redundant.) While I'm at it, I'd like senators to go back to state appointment because the intent was to prevent an all powerful federal government.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Jeremi (14640)
      HOW F*CKING HARD is it to make a secure voting machine?!?


      Pretty f*cking hard, I expect. The problem is roughly equivalent to making a secure DRM system, which everyone on Slashdot claims is near-impossible. In both cases, you need to give someone physical access to the machine and its contents, and yet somehow prevent them from secretly modifying the machine's behavior to suit their liking.

      • As I see it there is one key difference. A secure DRM system can not prevent me from using my machine as a general-purpose computer, but a secure voting system can. A voting system should really only be able to exhibit a few specific behaviors, and if you want to control those tightly enough it seems to me they could be implemented in hardware. For instance, the high-level behavior of encoding the votes and sending them off through the network could be entirely embedded in hardware, which removes the nee
    • It is about having another revenue stream. After all, how much would either major party be willing to pay to win a governorship or a presidency? They have already shown that spending 10's of millions on a state election is nothing. Now, they can spend it and be guaranteed of having a 10-20% boost in the outcome. In a normal year, that is enough to win the election. For last year and next, it will not.
    • by jhylkema (545853) on Saturday August 04, 2007 @08:37PM (#20117137)

      I bet i could write a secure voting machine that could handle state and federal elections securely in a couple of days in any language from assembly to bash!

      Bonus points if you can write it in INTERCAL [catb.org].
      • He clearly stated from assembly to bash. I is not between A and B in the alphabet!

        (Sorry, too many Centrum commercials)
    • by ArcherB (796902) *
      HOW F*CKING HARD is it to make a secure voting machine?!? The thing counts and keeps track of votes! I bet i could write a secure voting machine that could handle state and federal elections securely in a couple of days in any language from assembly to bash!

      How hard is it to make a secure voting machine? Exactly as hard as it is to make a secure OS and application, along with support files, data and libraries, that will be installed on a machine where it will be located in a public location where anyone ca
    • by solitas (916005) on Saturday August 04, 2007 @10:13PM (#20117637)
      HOW F*CKING HARD is it to make a secure voting machine?!? The thing counts and keeps track of votes!

      I cannot see WHY they feel they have to network them to accumulate the results. Best way to propagate a virus: wire them all together (or, worse, through the internet - however "secure" the connection).

      I still can't see anything wrong with using the machines to accumulate the votes and then polling each machine, by hand, to copy the tallies - having enough witnesses from all parties will keep the results accurate and they can still be communicated to the appropriate location as they've always been.

      I thought the main purpose of new machines over the older mechanical ones was the reduction of complexity of the machines (hence increasing their reliability), accessibility by the handicapped, and ease of recounting (just run the forms through another scanner and see if they total identically) - at least that's the line parroted by our idiot secretary of state (bysiewicz, Connecticut).

      It's obvious that machines wired to each other can be more completely tampered-with than individual machines, SO WHY DO IT?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by letxa2000 (215841)

      HOW F*CKING HARD is it to make a secure voting machine?!?

      Not very hard. But such a system would not be based on Windows or any normal version of Linux, or any other such operating system. The underlying code should be programmed as firmware which means it is stored in EEPROM or flash memory that cannot be changed by the machine itself. It should be electrically/hardware impossible for the code being run to be changed by the platform running it.

      A microcontroller (take your pick... 8052, ARM, even lowl

    • by iminplaya (723125)
      One of the most secure voting "machines"(as opposed to machine voting) I've ever seen is made out of cardboard and filled with nothing but air and some paper and the most common virus in its operating system is the Rhinovirus. This thing about having to computerize everything is an unhealthy obsession. Why does everybody think that a crescent wrench makes a good hammer? Hell, these people don't even know which end of the screwdriver to hit.
    • pretty f*ing hard.

      The real risk is insiders: the programmers, the maintenance people, the random IT person, the technicians.

      Bev Harris - founder, Black Box Voting

  • Or is this basically the same story as the one cmdrtaco posted a couple of hours ago (and is still on the front page)?
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Torodung (31985)
      No. It's not just you. It's not actually a dupe, but it's a new angle on the same article. Part of the problem of continually producing articles as the news develops, is having to produce dupe articles to add new important details to a previous article.

      I would assume that these viral vulnerabilities are the contents of...

      Additional reports [which] will be made available as the Secretary of State determines that they do not inadvertently disclose security-sensitive information.

      ...as mentioned in the previous article about California auditing the machines.

      --
      Toro

      • "Part of the problem of continually producing articles as the news develops.."

        Yup, especially when the eds (hello Zonk...) don't read (see /. ad nauseam) their own site. //end rant

        Of course you're right that, as news comes in, new information germane to the discussion should be added - but why not put in the 'original' /. article? Or at least link to it?
      • by sholden (12227)
        There's this amazing new technology called "the internet" on which you can put "web pages". They are a little bit like pages in a newspaper, except you can edit them at any time. So when the story develops you can add an update to the existing article instead of having to produce a whole new one.

        • Re:Is it just me (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Torodung (31985) on Saturday August 04, 2007 @10:12PM (#20117635) Journal
          This is true.

          However, I think self-redacting/auto-revising article text is a bad idea. Have you ever lurked on (for example) the Associated Press feed and watch an article headline slowly morph from "Bush puts off decision" to "Bush faces tough decision" and finally end up as "Bush makes decision" while the text, in which he clearly puts off the decision, stays static? I have. Or worse yet, both the headline and the body texts change according to an agenda.

          There is pressure being brought on news agencies to make those changes, which are becoming commonplace. This is the danger of Internet publication in the information age. It becomes unreliable. It's too easy to change it.

          So I prefer a news feed to retain previous revisions so I can get a good idea of the reliability of the news source. If there's an update, I expect it to be published as a separate note, not superseding the article text in place. I expect the act of publication to have permanent consequences, not be an act that you can wash away with something more responsible at a later date.

          My expectation, of course, is not realistic. It is borne of growing up with a print media. The only logical expectation is that Internet publication will be abused, and that "print media" is now less reliable, because it is no longer in print. I only ask that you understand the consequences of your demand that Slashdot "clean up" their articles. Your desire for "clean" can rapidly turn into an engine for censorship and yellow journalism.

          I can assure you of one thing: that CowboyNeal's article will fall off the bottom of the page soon enough, and you can then feel at ease.

          --
          Toro
          • by sholden (12227)
            Which is why I said "add an update" and not "change the article".
          • Your post suggests a conspiracy theory which is

            (x) paranoid
            (x) delusional
            (x) impossible to confirm
            ( ) impossible to refute

            Specifically, your theory fails to account for

            ( ) Stupidity of the general population
            (x) Lack of a centrally controlling authority for conspiracies
            (x) Failure to mention the Illuminati
            (x) Facts can be explained without need for a real conspiracy
            ( ) Stupidity of the politicians
            (x) Asshats

            and the following philosophical objections may also apply:

            (x) Ideas similar to yours are easy to come
  • Surely related to this article?

    http://it.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=07/08/04/143 1205 [slashdot.org]
  • Even worse (Score:5, Informative)

    by Alex Zepeda (10955) on Saturday August 04, 2007 @04:38PM (#20115627)
    The even scarier part is that the Diebold machines have not been decertified [sfgate.com].
  • I personally think the University in question should recommend a virus-free system, designed and tested to be very secure... that they wrote.

    (Any number of non-windows OSes would fit, but the *BSD family just fits so well here.)
  • by CriminalNerd (882826) on Saturday August 04, 2007 @04:55PM (#20115727)
    I would like to repeat myself by saying that voting machines should have never been permitted to be used in elections. Edison got his rejected, so why allow Diebold?

    If you ask me, it's just pointless. Why can't the state government(s) just get rid of the machines and reinstate the good ol' paper votes like they used to? Do they REALLY want to keep on using Diebold machines and/or voting machines in general?
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      Well Edison was so late 19th-early 20th century. We have to "update elections for the computer age" and "build a bridge to the 21st century". Apparently this means loading elections onto a bus and driving them over just as our new bridge collapses.
  • by 3-State Bit (225583) on Saturday August 04, 2007 @05:19PM (#20115871)
    Here is my idea for an absolutely secure voting machine. Each person who goes into vote gets a token. Made of radioactive material. This material is heavily controlled, and outside the voting machine you have SWAT teams with geiger counters, and obviously anyone wearing a foot of lead is busted.

    Voting consists of dropping the Uranium into one of several lead boxes which contain giant magnets to keep someone from trying to alter votes by moving tokens from one box to another. At the end of the day, you read the results digitally with a geiger counter. Every party can be there with representatives, disagreements can be sorted out on the spot with a manual count in front of a multiparty committee. 100% foolproof.

    Basically, I got the idea from Bruce Schnier, who observed that it's not such a bad idea for people to keep their passwords written down on a piece of paper in their wallet. After all, people already know how to keep their wallets secure.

    The US Military already knows how to keep weapons-grade plutonium secure. Basically, my idea is to just piggy-back on that, to keep voting secure.

    A lot of people like to stick with old, low-tech stuff, don't have the will to try anything new. "What about the radiation poisoning" they would no doubt whine. Well I say progress consists in throwing out what's old and "safe" and being bold. [diebold.com]
    • Here's mine (Score:3, Interesting)

      by DaleGlass (1068434)
      Main machine consists of a screen, CPU and printer. It only prints ballots, and doesn't count anything. Ballots are printed in a human and computer readable format, in an easy to OCR font. No barcodes or anything hidden. Perhaps in different ink colors to make manual sorting easier.

      Machine prints ballot and shows it to the voter. Voter approves or discards it.

      Ballot is fed into an optical scanner, which scans it. Scanner is implemented as absolutely simply as possible, by for example measuring levels of ref
      • by mazarin5 (309432)
        I don't think it's a bad idea; in fact this is what my district in Ohio does already. A terminal is set up - it takes your choices and prints out a sheet for you to review, a receipt for you to review, which is kept in the machine, and it stores the vote electronically. You put your sheet into an optical scanner. If the numbers don't match up between the two machines, the optical scanner wins.
      • Here's mine:
        Multiple choice fill in the dots just like I used in highschool. (Are they called "Scantron" sheets?) The difference is, instead of filling in the dots with pencil, you use bingo markers. Indelible. And you sign your ballot after you fill it in. Then the polling official signs the back of the sheet as they accept it (folded in half appox. along a pre-marked line). And each ballot is stamped twice with a number identifying the polling place and the sequence of issue. (One of them is on the
        • I don't like it. Problems:

          Filling by a human means that there's a potential for an unclear choice. Given a tight race, somebody WILL start to argue what exactly constitutes a ballot with a clear vote, and how much deviation from a precise choice is acceptable.

          Requiring your signature is bad. Many people sign with their own name. Not good for anonymity. Given the sequence number and handwriting the voter can be identified.

          Official's signature is unneeded. What does it add, other than making participating in
          • by HiThere (15173)
            And having the ballot anonymous and printed by a machine is a recipe for having a ballot box stuffed. The election official signing it means that he takes responsibility that the laws were abided by. Having a number for your ballot is, indeed, relatively useless...but some people could check. Think of it as a quality control. (Ideally you should be able to search for a ballot by number over the internet. Unfortunately, this same ideal would require that nobody else be able to search for your ballot, o
    • Those who cast the votes decide nothing; those who choose the isotopes decide everything.

      Also how will you stop someone from slipping in a beryllium ballot? It won't trip the Geiger counters on the way in and in the presence of alpha radiation it fissions releasing a neutron which could disenfranchise other voters.
    • up fine.

      Where are you planning to have a CRITICAL MASS of voters?

      I think I would give your voting booth a wide berth.

      I can just imagine the reporters covering the explosion. (Well some of them will be doing it from afar and claiming a victory for Al Queda.)
    • Modded +5? Having to handle radioactive material (even the slightest amount) is a huge turn-off for people (those who believe any amount can kill you, but also those won't risk an additional 0.00001% chance of getting cancer every time they vote) - if anything we want more people to vote, not less. And then of course you place all the credibility on the military in the hopes it will guard all the radioactive material it has (as well as guard against any black import of the material), not withstanding that
    • by jhol13 (1087781)
      That would give new meaning to "critical mass" :-)
    • Actually a metal vote token is not a bad idea, since to tally the vote, all you need to do is weigh the box, but I guess that is way too simple and will never fly, since how the hell is one then going to game the system?
      • by roman_mir (125474)
        since how the hell is one then going to game the system? - Lead. All I have to do is bring lots of lead.
  • 'Common' ne 'popular'
  • by The Master Control P (655590) <<ejkeever> <at> <nerdshack.com>> on Saturday August 04, 2007 @05:47PM (#20116057)
    The purpose of a voting machine is to increment integers and later add them together. There's no excuse to use anything more complex than 74xx logic chips...
    • by jfmiller (119037)
      Actually we'd prefer that the machines not do either of those tasks. Instead, the machine needs to provide an accessible on foolproof user interface for generating valid ballots. If it can count the ballots great, but we don't want to have to trust the machines count.
    • by dbIII (701233)
      There is an excuse. Some kid that is related to the boss can put something together in VB and they can keep all professionals that are supposed to have a code of ethics out of the loop.
  • Insecure (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    If we're admitting that those machines are vulnerable to hacks, is there any guarantee they weren't hacked before...say in 2004?

    And if so, should this not call into question the legitimacy of the reigning monar^H^H^H^H democratically elected Shrub on Pennsylvania Ave?

    • by HiThere (15173)
      This has been brought up before. FWIW, the president of Diebold promised the election to the Republicans before he started selling the voting machines. This isn't proof. It's only an indication. I don't have proof. Proof may no longer be available.

      I believe that your unstated question should be answered "The vote in 2004 was fraudulent on a massive scale.", but belief isn't proof.

      FWIW, there is proof of voting fraud on a minor scale by BOTH parties. (Check into the recent evidence scandal in Ohio, tho
  • Even if the vote is true, once the votes have been tallied, the winning party picks representatives who cast the electoral vote. Thing is, those representatives can vote for whoever they want. So far this has never changed an election but it could. There is no such thing as an unhackable computer. It sounds like all these voting machines are on a network, why not make each machine totally seperate? Make them not part of a network at all. Then at the end those voting counter people could just plug them into
    • Actually, they cannot vote for whatever they want. An elector who changes their vote to someone other than who they "pledged" to elect is called a "faithless elector." 24 states have laws on the books to punish faithless electors. See the Wikipedia Article [wikipedia.org].
      • by Calpse (1134185)
        Thank you for the info. I did not realize that there were laws about that. I still have to point out that more than half of the states don't have laws to enforce electors to vote for who they pledge for.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 04, 2007 @06:26PM (#20116271)

    Please, if you are a USA geek and care about the integrity of your democracy, force the public to take notice. You think they are going to care if people say that something is theoretically possible? No, they think it's a conspiracy theorist, or, at best, "The government would never let that happen, would they? I'm sure somebody is taking care of it." The only way to fix this is to make the public realise that this directly affects them. Otherwise they are too apathetic and myopic to do anything about it.

    So rig the next election. And I don't mean for Mickey Mouse, that can easily be caught and covered up on the day. It has to be a landslide for a believable candidate. Write an encrypted letter to your local newspapers beforehand that explains what you are going to do and how you are going to do it. Leave a marker on the system to prove that you were there, and mention it in the letter. After the election, send them the key that decrypts the letter, proving that the recent landslide was totally rigged. For bonus points, own up to it instead of doing it anonymously, but only do this if you have an impeccable public persona. Rosa Parks wouldn't have had quite the impact she did if she dealt weed on the side.

    If you don't do this, somebody less honest than you will. They may already have done it. The only people who can solve this are honest American geeks.

    • by HiThere (15173)
      How are we supposed to force people to notice something they don't want to hear? If I just tell them repeatedly, they stop listening. If I ask the voting commissioner, I'm told "Sorry, we signed a contract." The only next step that I can see is to hire a lawyer and sue him for misfeasance...but I'd better quit my job and move to another county first. (Possibly another state. Maybe another country.)

      This area is massively Democrat, and we have Diebold voting machines. (Well, we did the last election. P
  • DUPLICATE (Score:2, Informative)

    by zestyping (928433)
    This is a duplicate of the (still front-page Slashdot) story [slashdot.org] posted by CowboyNeal.

    Please post a story about the Secretary of State's decision [ca.gov] restricting the use of these machines.
  • Stuff like this really gives me the impression that USA, involuntarily or not, acts like some sort of sandbox for the rest of the world.
    • by Aetuneo (1130295)
      In which sense? As in a standard sandbox, where ideas are tested, or as in a cat's litter-box?
  • Why would you ever write voting machine software in VB+MS SQL and run it on Windows? A voting machine could run on any operating system, be written in any language and use any database. It is just going to count some numbers...
    • Worse - almost any Point of Sale system can be configured to tally votes. Gawd knows why they all go and design special hardware.
  • by zestyping (928433) on Saturday August 04, 2007 @06:38PM (#20116347) Homepage
    There were three source code reports released -- for Diebold [ca.gov], Hart [ca.gov], and Sequoia [ca.gov], not just Diebold. All three systems had serious weaknesses, including viral propagation vectors. All of the reports are worth checking out.
  • "Pedro Sanchez" nominated and elected to the Federal Gummint.

    Do you realize how many favors he would have owed me?

    I would have been able to sleep with ALL of his sisters AND his mother AT THE SAME TIME.

    Aw squat...
  • > Oddly, my state of Illinois, long known for election fraud, has paper trails

    There's a reason the state is KNOWN for election fraud. With paper trails the fraud gets detected.

    I fear that in Diebold heavy states the fraud won't always be so apparent. It'll just be a lot of rumor and suspicion and often dismissed as paranoia.
  • FL, not known for election fraud because of creative media hijinks, is rife with election fraud.

    in 2000, Volusia County, FL had one precinct count up (er down) -16,000 votes for Al Gore. That's Negative Sixteen Thousand.

    It was allowed to pass in the final tally.

    information from the blackbox voting documentary.
  • Maybe Slashdot should have a new political section slogan: "Politics for nerds. Your vote doesn't matter."

    On the other hand, with a screwup like this, maybe Ron Paul will get the majority of votes on election day. Or maybe a write-in candidate like Mickey Mouse will get all the votes. :^) I guess that's where the electoral college comes in. Do they use Diebold machines as well?!
  • Just how much money is involved in evaluating, buying, deploying and now investigating these machines ?

    The main reason cited for moving to electronic voting is that manual counting methods are too slow or inacurate.

    My own hunch would be that if we took even half the ammount of money that has been wasted on these machines and spent it on researching ways to improve the speed and accuracy of the existing manual counting methods, we would have a better system that would be both secure and clear for ever

  • Yes, we know the Diebold machines are running WinCE, the program is either VB or VC++ and the database is access.

    Yet I can't help but wonder. If I gave my truck to a bunch of high school students, locked them in the gargage with it for a week, could they possibly break into it?

    Get real, folks. My only question is to when DES gets out of that market. It is only like 2% of their business...
  • Good elections start with clean voter rolls. Until we also work at cleaning the voter rolls, all this smoke-and-fury over the machines is irrelevant. John Fund [opinionjournal.com] has written extensively about the issues of voter registration fraud. Sound Politics [soundpolitics.com]'s Stephan Sharkansky has worked tirelessly to uncover literally thousands of illegal registrations here in King County, Washington. Not to mention the fact that there were thousands more votes than voters...

    Clean the rolls, and I bet 99% of all "election fraud"

  • I'm a Perl programmer, and I can gaurantee that I could design a secure voting system. It would center around a gpg encrypted database of each voter's selections, and a gpg -encrypted ascii-amored printout receipt given to each voter. The voter, at any time, could go online, and verify if his vote was recorded correctly. Random samples would be verified, and a multiple redundant local harddrive system, in addition to a network drive, (which would all have to match) would provide veracity of the precincts.
  • Leave us not forget that all the potential competitors got cracked as well.
    The only system in which the public should have any confidence at all would
    have to open source. Until such time as that occurs paper ballots could
    carry the load.
    And there'd be less whining from Dhimmicreeps since they are old hands at
    perverting that system.

There is no distinction between any AI program and some existent game.

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