Electronic Voting Equipment Records a Vote of 'No Confidence'

Thursday, December 20, 2007 at 08:55 PM

Make it three and counting when it comes to states officially worried about the accuracy and integrity of the electronic equipment used to record and tally our votes. In the past week or so Ohio and Colorado have joined California in concluding that the machines that have decided the last several elections really can't be trusted any further than you could throw them.

What, you might ask, is the sense of determining this state by state when the machines used in the various states are all pretty much alike? If I had an answer, I'd tell you. Because, as the Ohio Secretary of State said when asked whether the recent report on Ohio was, in fact, an indictment on how the nation votes given that the voting systems in Ohio are used throughout the country, "I suppose it would be."

But the state-by-state analysis is certainly a boon to academics and computer experts conducting the tests. All funded with tax dollars. Cast your vote of questionable effect, then fund the analysis of whether your vote was of questionable effect.

The Ohio report indicted the security of equipment from Elections Systems and Software; Premier Election Solutions (a.k.a. Diebold until that name became toxic to public opinion); and Hart InterCivic, finding that all were easily corrupted. As the NY Times reported:

“It was worse than I anticipated,” [Ohio] Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner, said of the report. “I had hoped that perhaps one system would test superior to the others.”

At polling stations, teams working on the study were able to pick locks to access memory cards and use hand-held devices to plug false vote counts into machines. At boards of election, they were able to introduce malignant software into servers.


The academic team, made up of faculty members and students from Cleveland State University, Pennsylvania State, the University of California, Santa Barbara, and the University of Pennsylvania, said systemic change was needed. “All of the studied systems possess critical security failures that render their technical controls insufficient to guarantee a trustworthy election,” the team wrote.

One of the flaws that analysts have noted in these inadequately tested and monitored machines is that if an intrusion into the data occurs, the machines do not detect and preserve the fact of intrusion--looking at the machine and/or the data after the intrusion won't tell you that an intrusion occurred.

But, hey, take heart from what Chris Riggall, a spokesman for Premier Election Solutions (Diebold) pointed out:

"It is important to note,” he said, “that there has not been a single documented case of a successful attack against an electronic voting system, in Ohio or anywhere in the United States.”
That's right, a major flaw in many of the voting machines is that they make it easy for hackers, while making it almost impossible to detect the hacking, but we can take heart in the fact that hacking hasn't been definitively proved.

To refresh your memory on what the Ohio study means, in the 2004 election, Bush got 286 electoral votes, Kerry 252. (If you don't trust my numbers, see here ) Ohio's 20 electoral votes went Bushward. Had they gone Kerryward, Kerry would have won 272 to 266. Put that together with the report on the ease of tampering with these machines, the widespread use of the machines throughout Ohio, and the very curious results in several Ohio voting districts and, by God, it just makes you feel good all over, doesn't it?

And still, even with this information finally making it to the public in official fashion, where the hell is the outrage? No groundswell of anger, no demonstrations, no Strike to Preserve Democracy. Nothing. Except poor Brittany's sister's pregnancy, and the war on Christmas.


Gee, golly, ya mean those tin-foil guys at Bradblog weren't crazy all this time? That we've gotten ourselves phonified elections as a result?

Two factors haunt the engineer: And these things always do...

1) Every "overvote" encountered _always_ favored the Nazi Party. How is this mathematically possible with "glitches"??

2) Exit polls versus "raw data". They did not match. It's up there with me winning Powerball 15 times in a row.

We wuz robbed, I tell ya. Oops, gotta go, that's the bat-phone...